Under the leadership of the Polish Institute for Law and Society (INPRIS) and with financial support from the Visegrad Fund and the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The CEELI Institute is supporting the project “NGOs and the Judiciary – Watchdog Activities, Interactions, Collaboration, Communication.”

The overall goal of the project is to exchange best practices from V4 countries and Western Balkans and to increase the “watchdog”capacities of civil society in the Western Balkans.

The aim of the project is to gather and share good practices in area of cooperation between NGOs and judiciary, especially civic monitoring of the judiciary, with a focus on Western Balkan states. As NGOs are becoming more and more involved in various activities related to the judiciary (as well as cooperation projects), and many of these activities encompass various forms of monitoring, we find it extremely inspiring and beneficial to explore how this issue is addressed in other countries.

The focus of the project is on the monitoring of various civic activities including monitoring of the judiciary by NGOs (of courts’ activities, communication with citizens, judges appointments), trial observations (court watch), strategic litigation, involvement of NGOs in court trials, amicus curiae, training and workshops for judges organized by expert NGOs, collaboration of NGOs with judges‘ associations, and NGOs as organizations educating citizens in about the judiciary.

All these activities play a vital role in shaping civil society, strengthening rule of law, and strengthening democracy. Firstly, citizens via NGOs influence the judiciary through various forms of monitoring. Secondly, by becoming involved in trials and educational projects, NGOs empower the judiciary, help with building professional capacity of judges, and support the activity of courts.
Among others, six partner organizations from V4 and Balkan countries are participating in the project: Albanian Helsinki Committee (Albania), VIS IURIS (Slovakia), Coalition of Civil Associations “All for fair trials” (Macedonia), and Yucom (Serbia).