In 2007, the CEELI Institute helped launch the Conference of Chief Justices of Central & Eastern Europe, which
brings together the senior judges from the region’s highest courts to share and develop strategies and best practices to promote judicial integrity and accountability, to improve court
management, and to combat corruption in the courts. The CEELI Institute’s
efforts have supported the work of the Conference since its inception. The Conference was launched in Prague, at the Institute, with support from the
U.S. Department of State, and with personal involvement and commitment of United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The Conference is now a self-sustaining body that meets annually in one of the countries represented. The Conference continues to flourish and rotates between member states, each year hosted by a Chief Justice from a different country.
Conferences over the past several years have been hosted by Chief Justices from Albania (2012), Montenegro (2013),
Georgia (2014), Croatia (2015), Serbia (2016), Hungary (2017), and, most recently, Lithuania (2018). The Supreme Court of Slovakia will host the conference in 2019.
The CEELI Institute continues to provide guidance and expertise to the
experience includes establishing a similar conference for the countries of Asia and the Pacific.Conference, led by the efforts of CEELI Institute Board member, Judge John M. Walker, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge Walker is joined in this effort by Judge Clifford J. Wallace, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, whose extensive
Among the notable achievements of the Conference was the signing, in 2015, of a Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary (known now as the Brijuni Statement after the
name of the seaside Croatian town where the document was drafted). The Brijuni Statement represents a reaffirmation of
a long-held and shared belief amongst its signatories in judicial independence as critical to upholding the rule of law. As of 2018, 18 courts have signed the
Statement, and it has been translated into six languages. The “Brijuni Statement of Principles,” signed by the judges of the 18 participating courts of the Conference of Chief Justices, now stands alongside the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, the 1995 Beijing Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary, and other key international instruments which provide a foundation in international law for the concept of an independent judiciary as fundamental to the rule of law. As the Brijuni Principles themselves state: “The implementation and protection of all rights depends on the existence of a competent, independent, and impartial judiciary.” The CEELI Institute is gratified to be able to support the publication and distribution of the Brijuni Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary. The Statement has been published and is also available on the CEELI Institute website at www.ceeliinstitute.org. It has been widely circulated throughout the region and beyond. The original, signed copies of the Brijuni Statement will continue to be preserved and maintained by the Supreme Court of Croatia.