Europe and Eurasia

Promoting the Rule of Law and Justice for All

For thirty years, NCSC has worked throughout Europe and Eurasia to strengthen justice systems and services, and advance access to justice for all. NCSC is working to modernize systems, transform services, foster ethics, integrity, fairness and equality. We also work to empower students and young professionals to be the change they wish to see in the legal workforce.

Justice Activity (October 2014 – October 2019)

The purpose of the Justice Activity (JA) Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is to achieve more functional and accountable institutions that meet BiH citizen needs and make government more responsive to citizens by strengthening the capabilities of justice sector actors. The project collaborates closely with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to implement reforms across the justice sector that promote greater transparency and accountability; to set standards for professional behavior; and to deter misconduct by judges and prosecutors through disciplinary measures and preventive educational training on ethics.

Project results

  • Up to 19 Prosecutors’ Offices have received support from JA.
  • Cooperation was cemented with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the National Anti-Corruption Council to implement integrity-strengthening activities in the judiciary.

NCSC is a subcontractor to Millennium DPI Partners in supporting the implementation of the Justice Activity Project, funded by USAID.

Student Law Practicum in Bosnia and Herzegovina (November 2017 – November 2019)

The aim of the Student Law Practicum (SLP) program is to improve the practical skills of law students, create an innovative legal practicum module, and deliver practice-oriented legal courses. The program works with law faculties and justice sector practitioners to work together to design and deliver practice-based learning for law students on criminal justice proceedings, with an emphasis on anti-corruption and organized crime. NCSC works closely with Bosnian law faculties, justice sector practitioners, and educational accreditation authorities to implement this practice-based learning methodology.

Program results

  • The four competing law faculties completed the SLP’s course, which culminated in a simulated mock trial where students were able to demonstrate their litigation skills in a hypothetical criminal case trial.
  • 61 students enrolled in and successfully completed the SLP’s course.

The Student Law Practicum program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and implemented by NCSC.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Mock Trials (November 2017 – February 2019)

The goal of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mock Trials program was to strengthen young Bosnians’ understanding of the legal system of their country and to build trust in their judicial system. Through an innovative learning methodology, the program designed a new educational curriculum and developed the ability of teachers to design, implement, and host mock trials. The program also developed a public diplomacy campaign to improve students’ understanding of their legal rights and strengthen public trust in the courts. NCSC worked closely with Bosnian high schools, justice sector practitioners, and educational accreditation authorities to promote and deliver learning experiences through mock trials.

Program results

  • The Mock Trial educational program was successfully implemented in four participating high schools.
  • Intra-mural competitions were held between the participating schools with cooperation from legal practitioners.
  • Outreach efforts were achieved through the project website, which contained the course materials, event information and photos, and student blog posts on mock trial experiences.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Mock Trials program was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and implemented by NCSC.

Fostering Investor and Lender-Friendly Environment Project (August 2003– August 2006)

The purpose of the Fostering Investor and Lender-Friendly Environment (FILE) project was to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina’s commercial court divisions with automation, training, and process improvements. Under a subcontract with Chemonics, NCSC provided court administration and training expertise to improve case management processes and introduce new IT equipment and software.

The FILE Project was funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics in partnership with NCSC and the Emerging Markets Group.

Weighted Caseload Project for the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Bulgaria

In 2014, NCSC experts assisted the Supreme Judicial Council of Bulgaria (SJC) in analyzing and evaluating data collected through meetings with the Caseload Analysis and Evaluation Committee and with judges. The experts then produced a series of recommendations through which the SJC could move forward in developing a case weight model to inform decisions about the efficient and equitable distribution of judicial resources among Bulgaria’s courts.

NCSC is a leader in weighted caseloads for courts and their justice system partners, with studies conducted at every level of government.

Court Improvement Project (September 2000-April 2004)

The Court Improvement Project was originally designed to provide assistance to Croatian municipal courts but was later expanded to include all courts. The project was designed to increase the number of cases disposed by courts, make the management of operations more efficient, introduce automation where necessary by procuring computer hardware and software, and improve the quality and timeliness of judicial decision-making.

Project results

  • Specifications for an Integrated Court Case Management System were developed, to be followed by the development, implementation, and modification of basic automated case tracking systems.
  • Staff from the Zagreb Municipal Court (ZMC) was trained by NCSC in coordination with the Ministry of Justice on computer technology.
  • With funding from World Learning, a study visit was organized for ZMC judges and administrative staff to visit the IT Division of the Supreme Court of Slovenia.

The Court Improvement Project was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC.

Justice System Reform Activity (May 2003– June 2007)

The Justice System Reform Activity in Kosovo (JSRAK) addressed four different but interrelated components: Planning and drafting legal support to establish an effective and impartial justice system in Kosovo; strengthening the capacity of courts to operate fairly and efficiently; developing oversight mechanisms to ensure respect for ethics; and increasing public awareness of the justice system while also improving access to justice and the protection of individual rights.

Activity results

  • Technical assistance was provided to the new Ministry of Justice’s development and to the Kosovo Judicial Council in developing a new long-term strategic plan.
  • The leadership and management of courts in Kosovo were enhanced, resulting in the active engagement of Court Presiding Judges.
  • A training program on judicial ethics was developed and delivered to judges and prosecutors throughout Kosovo.
  • Journalists were trained on how to report changes within the judiciary and how to report on court cases.

JRSAK was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC in partnership with IFES.

Justice Support Program (June 2007– April 2011)

The goal of the Justice Support Program was to increase the effective functioning of justice sector institutions in Kosovo. To accomplish this goal, the program set out to improve the performances of the Kosovo Judicial Council, the administration of courts, and the professionalism and ethical behavior of judges and court staff. The program also supported efforts to have the court system more effectively represent non-Albanians; developed policy formulation and legal guidance skills for the Ministry of Justice; and supported the efforts to build an effective Public Prosecutors Service.

Program results

  • New judicial and prosecution leaders were trained on communications and media sensitization.
  • A comprehensive court management training program was implemented in 10 courts.
  • A new Code of Ethics for Judicial and Prosecutorial Administration staff was adopted and disseminated.
  • A new strategy for outreach to non-Albanian communities was developed and submitted to the Kosovo Judicial Council.
  • A manual on legislative drafting and a corresponding self-training handbook were distributed.
  • The structure of the new Kosovo Prosecutorial Council was organized.

The Justice Support Program was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC in partnership with Search for Common Ground, the Public Law Center, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Kosovo Legal Profession Program (January 2012– March 2015)

The Kosovo Legal Profession (KLP) Program was designed to promote investments in legal education and the legal profession. Throughout its period of operation, the KLP Program strengthened practical skills building and legal education opportunities. The program also improved self-regulation, ethics, and membership development within the legal profession.

Program results

  • Over 490 students were enrolled in KLP-sponsored legal clinics throughout the duration of the program, and over 680 law students were enrolled in internships.
  • The curricula of legal clinics were revised and improved, incorporating practice-oriented methodologies and more exposure to practitioners.
  • 15 policy papers were published over the life of the program.
  • A legal writing course was piloted at Iliria College.

The Kosovo Legal Profession Program was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC. Originally envisioned as a three-year initiative, the program was in operation for 39 months.

Demand for Justice Program (August 2016– September 2017)

The Demand for Justice (D4J) program cultivated cross-sectoral partnerships and alliances to foster a coalition around concrete reforms and mobilized eight civil society organizations and eight professional associations engaged in activities and campaigns to educate youth about justice. Partner institutions that were actively engaged with the project included the Kosovo bar Association, the Kosovo Judicial Council, the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, the Ombudsperson’s Office, and two universities.

Program results

  • Over 1,000 judges, prosecutors, lawyers, police officers, and court staff participated in the Judicial Integrity Survey.
  • Over 1,600 high school students were mobilized through two Youth for Justice projects, providing students with the opportunity to interact with justice sector institutions.
  • The live legal clinics received unanimous positive feedback from universities, the leadership of the Kosovo Bar Association and lawyers, and participating students.

The Demand for Justice Program was a 14-month initiative funded by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and implemented by NCSC.

Kosovo Justice Sector Strengthening Program (November 2015– June 2020)

The Kosovo Justice Sector Strengthening (JSSP) Program will ensure that the rule of law is strengthened in Kosovo by improving the quality of the justice system and its ability to operate in a professional, efficient, and accountable manner. The program seeks to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of justice and delivery of court services; to enhance the accountability and professionalism of justice system institutions and actors; and to integrate judicial structures in the North.

Program goals

  • The delivery of services by the Kosovo Judicial Council will be more effective and efficient, and administrative competencies will be decentralized to the courts.
  • Ethics, discipline, communications, judicial decisions, and continuing legal education opportunities will be improved, and assistance will be provided to the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.
  • The North’s judges and staff will have improved human resources, case management, and backlog reduction.

The Kosovo JSSP Program is implemented by NCSC under a subaward from Millennium DPI Partners and funded by USAID.

Moldova Open Justice Project(May 2017 – May 2019)

In September 2017, NCSC entered into a contract with Millennium Partners to implement the Moldova Open Justice Project. NCSC provided expertise and training in court technology and facilitating access to justice. An overarching purpose of the USAID Open Justice Project was to assist the Government of Moldova to improve the efficiency and transparency of the Moldovan judicial system and improve access to justice for citizens of Moldova.

The Project in Moldova was funded by USAID through a two-year small business set-aside, for which NCSC was contracted to provide relevant technical assistance and training to meet project requirements.

Organized Crime & War Crimes Trial Support Project (August 2003 – September 2004)

Under the Serbia Organized Crime and War Crimes Trial Support Project, NCSC provided time-critical procurement and technical assistance to the Special Departments for Organized Crime and Prosecutors for War Crimes. In addition to procuring IT equipment and software, NCSC conducted workshops for judges, court staff, prosecutors, and public information officers to handle the complex and publicly notorious crimes they were dealing with. NCSC also sponsored a study tour to the Brcko District Court to provide key stakeholders with the opportunity to learn about that court’s experience with oral and adversarial procedures.

The Serbia Organized Crime and War Crimes Trial Support Project was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC.

Serbia Rule of Law Project (March 2004– May 2006)

The Serbia Rule of Law Project helped achieve the following rule of law objectives for Serbia: Develop a more efficient judicial system and develop a better education system for judges and lawyers. These objectives supported USAID’s Strategic Objective 2.0: More Effective, Responsive, and Accountable Democratic Institutions.

Project results

  • Technical assistance was provided to six pilot courts to increase the capacity of judicial personnel to manage case flow, reduce backlog, and develop a court management culture that promotes transparency and accountability.
  • Case backlog was reduced for six pilot courts, in some cases by up to 45%
  • New books and equipment were provided to law faculty, including computers, servers, printers, and new textbooks on a variety of international law topics.

The Serbia Rule of Law Project was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC.

Judicial Reform and Government Accountability Project (May 2011 – November 2016)

The Judicial Reform and Government Accountability Project (JRGA) was implemented to strengthen the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, and the administration of justice in Serbia. JRGA was also designed to increase public awareness of reforms in the judicial sector and to strengthen the ability of the Serbian government, independent agencies, and civil society organizations to detect and prevent corruption. NCSC partnered with institutions such as the Ministry of Justice, appellate and first-instance mid-demeanor courts, the Judicial Academy, the Association of Misdemeanor Judges, the Supreme Court of Cassation, and the High Court Council.

Project results

  • The legal framework was comprehensively revised, which eventually produced the new Law on Misdemeanors.
  • A training program was delivered to misdemeanor judges and staff.
  • New court automation technologies were introduced, and court working conditions were improved.
  • Serbia’s independent agencies are now better equipped to ensure government accountability.

The JRGA Project was funded by USAID and implemented by NCSC, with support from Management Systems International and Development Professionals, Inc.