The Conference of Chief Justices

The CEELI Institute was instrumental in the design and launch of the Conference of Chief Justices of Central and Eastern Europe in 2007 as an opportunity for high-level judicial exchange. This now annual conference brings together presidents of the highest courts across the region and beyond to share best practices on promoting judicial integrity and accountability, combatting corruption in the courts, and reviewing court administration. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts addressed the inaugural conference at the Institute in 2007.

The conference is now entirely independent and hosted each year by a participating country and court; in 2024 the Kosovo Supreme Court will host the Conference. The Institute remains supportive, including with guidance and mentorship led by our board member, Judge John M. Walker, a senior U.S. circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.     

A notable achievement of the Conference is the signing of the Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary in 2015. Now known as the Brijuni Statement, after the Croatian town where it was adopted, this statement is a reaffirmation of its signatories that judicial independence is critical to upholding the rule of law. Nineteen Supreme Courts have signed the Statement, which has been translated into six languages.  

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