17th Summer School on Judicial Integrity for Junior Anti-Corruption Practitioners from South-East Europe

Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative organized the 17th Summer School on Judicial Integrity for Junior Anti-Corruption Practitioners from South-East Europe. Training took place on 4-8 July in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Speaking at the opening, Ms. Desislava Gotskova, Head of RAI Secretariat emphasized that “Summer Schools is one of the oldest and shiniest examples of what RAI do. It started with a simple idea and clear-cut objectives that are still valid 17 years later”.

Ms. Silviya Dimitrova, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice of Bulgaria noted how the concept of the Summer School thoroughly developed and expanded since its inception in 2005. “Since then,” Ms. Dimitrova said, “some young anti-corruption practitioners are now renowned experts in their countries and abroad. The success comes from the opportunity to establish a platform for learning new practices and exchanging experiences.”

Mr. Stanislav Todorov, Counsellor Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CEI Bulgarian Chair Coordinator welcomed the efforts of RAI to foster anti-corruption capacities across the region and provide a platform for young practitioners to exchange experience and good practices.

17th edition of the Summer School gathered prominent international experts, judges, prosecutors and lawyers who delivered their presentations on judicial integrity.

Mr. Wojciech Postulski, Policy Officer, European Commission-DG Just/former EJTN Secretary General talked about the role of the European Commission in judicial training and the importance of networking between the practitioners toward developing a common judicial culture and integrity. Later on, participants took part in the Tour de Table and presented their country’s good practices and tools for promoting judicial integrity.

Mr. Gerhard Reissner, Judge and Honorary President of the International Association of Judges spoke about the mission of the judges especially focusing on the Opinion of the Consultative Council of European Judges on the position of the judiciary and its relation with the other powers of the state in a modern democracy.

Many international organizations offer knowledge resources on integrity and conflict of interests. Mr. Hendrik Bosshammer, Project Manager, South East Europe Division at OECD and Ms. Tatjana Veress, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, UNODC, Judicial Integrity Network, presented the online training tools developed by OECD and UNODC.

How to prepare young judges and prosecutors for practical implementation of ethics and deontology and how to promote a culture of an open debate about ethics? Answers to these questions and many more questions were provided by Ms. Aneta Arnaudovska, Senior Anti-corruption Advisor in RAI Secretariat.

Mr. Georgi Kodzhanikolov, Ms. Kalina Stancheva and Mr. Radoslav Angelov, members of the National Institute of Justice of Bulgaria team and semi-finalist at the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) Themis 2022 Competition delivered a presentation on the theme they will examine at the competition. In their presentation, they touched upon the harmonized rules and tools for judicial ethics and professional conduct in the EU.

The tutor of the team, judge Ms. Angelina Lazarova and Ms. Arnaudovska were leading the open discussion and working in groups on ethical dilemmas.

On the final day, National Institute of Justice was hosting the participants of the Summer School on their premises. Ms. Eli Hristova, Lawyer at Supreme Bar Council and Mr. Dimitar Hadzhyiski, Prosecutor at Supreme Cassation prosecutors’ Office talked about the perspective of the parties in the procedures/ tolls and mechanisms to develop mutual respect among the three key legal professionals.

The 17th Edition of the Summer School enabled junior practitioners to learn about the latest developments and practices in the field of judicial integrity and guide them in identifying the mechanisms for the prevention of corruption and promoting transparent and reasoned decision-making processes. This was also the opportunity to share common values and exchange new experiences and discuss new perspectives in areas of common interest

17th edition of the Summer School was co-hosted by the National Institute of Justice of Bulgaria and co-funded by Central European Initiative.