By: Elise Ghattas, Intern

The mission of the CEELI Institute has always been clear: to bolster the rule of law by providing legal education to prosecutors, judges, attorneys, and other reformers worldwide.  Central to this mission is the development of fair judiciaries, functioning market economies, and respect for human rights.  What is less clear is why the CEELI Institute is in the Czech Republic and what makes the Czech Republic a good home for the organization today.  The Czech Republic’s history of transition to democracy and a rule of law makes it a hallmark example of a peaceful and progressive change and an ideal location for the CEELI Institute.

The CEELI Institute draws on the experience of its Czech home by including Czech judges as faculty and participants in its programming.  It is a testament to the success of the Czech Republic’s transition that the Institute has so many judges to call on.  For instance, the Institute’s program to strengthen judicial integrity in Tunisia utilizes the knowhow of Czech judges on its faculty.  Not only are Czech judges able to impart their firsthand experience with developing and maintaining judicial integrity, but they relate to and inspire their Tunisian counterparts because of their common experience.  Similarly, the Institute included Czech judges in the Central & Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network.  The Network meets in person and online to share experiences with issues of judicial integrity and accountability and court efficiency with colleague judges and court administrators.  Naturally, Czech judges are a great addition to the Network because they have successfully, and recently, established these tenets of the rule of law.

As the heart of the Czech Republic, Prague continues to be an ideal location for the CEELI Institute. The Institute derives its mission to promote rule of law reform worldwide from its experience with the Czech Republic and will continue to work with other countries in the hope that they too will become examples of peaceful change for future generations.