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Building Legal Institutions: Lawyers and Judges (Program)

James Moliterno, Washington and Lee University School of Law (US) (Moderator); Pavol Zilincik, Rule of Law and Judicial Reform Consultant (Slovakia); Irakli Kordzakhia, Law Firm Kordzakhia Jgenti GP (Georgia); Irina Lortkipanidze, East West Management Institute (Georgia); Marjan Arsovski, University “St. Kliment Ohridski” Skopje (Republic of Macedonia)

Building Legal Institutions: Lawyers and Judges

This panel will feature reform participants from Slovakia and Republic of Georgia. The Georgians will describe reforms to the bar association disciplinary system and ethics training systems that have lifted the system from inception to sophisticated efficiency. The Slovak participants will describe the ongoing efforts of the US Embassy and various NGOs to reform the code of conduct for judges and establish fair systems for disciplining judges, selecting new judges, and administering the judiciary.

In addition, Marjan Arsovski will discuss international rule of law missions in Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Hercegovina as a guide for rule of law missions in Syria. 

Rule of law is a legal maxim which suggests that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles, as the ancient philosopher Aristotle wrote: "Law should govern." The rule of law is the foundation of a civilized society. It creates a transparent process that is accessible and equal to all. It ensures adherence to principles that both liberate and protect. However, there is a huge gap between the rule of law in theory and reality. When a country is under attack or war is declared, there can be a temporary disabling of normal constitutional functioning, including the executive, legislative and judicial powers. Rule of law is the legal and political framework under which the State - including all institutions and persons - is accountable.  Establishing respect for the rule of law is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict. Upholding the rule of law is essential to successful peacekeeping. It requires strengthening confidence in police, justice systems and correctional services. International rule of law operations consist of military, police and civilian personnel, who work to deliver security, promote human rights and assist in restoring the rule of law. The ongoing International Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, Border Assistance Mission to Ukraine, Monitoring Mission in Georgia and Rule of Law Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina provide an opportunity to test the establishment of rule of law in crisis states like Syria. They were established for monitoring, mentoring and advising the countries’ police and administration, thus helping to fight organized crime as well as promoting democratic standards. This research paper aims to show the positive and negative experiences of the International Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, Border Assistance Mission to Ukraine, Monitoring Mission in Georgia and the Missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to guide future developments and improvements in conducting rule of law missions in Syria. 

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