After three years, the CEELI Institute, in September, concluded its counterterrorism adjudication initiative for Indian judges. The project was a multilateral effort partnering the Institute with the Federal Judicial Center of the United States (FJC) and the National Judicial Academy of India (NJA). The project consisted of three phases, with the goal of working with the NJA in creating a unique curriculum for Indian judges that ties international good practices for adjudication of terrorism cases to national legislation and judicial practice, while at the same time incorporating a modern pedagogical approach in lieu of more traditional lecture-based teaching methodology.
Phase I of the project consisted of a
3-day review of the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Hague Memorandum of Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating
Terrorism Offenses, for 26 Indian high court justices, from which eight
were selected by the NJA to be trainers. Phase II started with a week-long
study tour in the US where the eight justices participated in three days of programs
on adult education at the FJC facilities in Washington, and a 2-day site visit
to courts in California. The group was hosted by U.S. District Judge David O.
Carter in California, and was exposed to the workings of both the US federal
and state court systems. Following the exchange in the US, the justices were
assigned by the NJA with the challenging task of creating a new curriculum for
first instance judges in India who are assigned to handle terrorism trials. The
curriculum was to not only incorporate the international good practices found
in the Hague Memorandum, but also
employ a new pedagogy, incorporating active learning techniques. With
continuing support from CEELI and the FJC, the justices worked and reworked
their training modules for ten months before embarking on the third and final
phase of the project – implementing their new curriculum. Phase III consisted
of two two-day workshops for a total of 80 first instance judges, facilitated
by the NJA and administered by the eight justices. The workshops were a
tremendous success, garnering high marks from participants, many of whom
requested future trainings on other topics incorporate a similar methodology.
While the project has concluded, the
NJA has been left with a new, replicable counterterrorism curriculum, as well
as a deeper appreciation and understanding of modern adult education
techniques, and the CEELI Institute has gained a valuable new partner with whom
it looks forward to working with again in the future.