Distance learning, an online library, mentorships for judges, comprehensive training of court chairpersons and regional schools – these represent only part of the plans to transform the Kyrgyz judiciary after exchanges with judicial institutions in Italy, Armenia and Ukraine.
A delegation of judges from the High Justice Training Center (HJTC) under the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic exchanged experiences and best practices with counterparts on judicial education as part of the USAID-IDLO ‘Trusted Judiciary’ program.
During the study visit to Italy, which took place in October 2019, the delegation of Kyrgyz judges visited Italy’s Higher School of the Judiciary, Superior Council of the Judiciary and the Florence Courthouse. Since then, initiatives have already been implemented. Namely, the creation of an e-library for the HJTC as well as the development of practical guidelines for judicial decisions on criminal law and civic law.
“Italians have a big e-library, and judges can choose between subjects to study,” shared Ms. Elmira Baitikova, Director of the HJTC. “We did not have this, so now we’ve opened an e-library page on our website and started publishing.”
The trip to Italy also inspired separate in-depth training courses for court chairpersons on management skills and budgeting, as well as a plan for regional schools under the HJTC.
“We are thinking of opening a branch in the southern region of Kyrgyzstan, since it is a remote region and a branch would be convenient for judges. After studying [Italy’s] experience, we saw that this delivers results,” said Ms. Baitikova.
The Kyrgyz delegation has also learned the experience of the National School of Ukraine and liked their mentorship program.
While the study trip to Italy inspired new ideas, the delegation has also learned from their neighbors in the region. An Armenian colleague, who also took part in the study visit, shared experiences with Kyrgyz counterparts in introducing online learning. Currently, the HJTC has developed a strategy for introducing an online learning platform that will launch in 2020.
“Our mentorship program, which would allow experienced judges help new ones, is only in the development stages and doesn’t work yet,” said Ms. Baitikova. “We spoke with Ukrainian colleagues and would like to learn from their mentorship experience.”
Going forward, the Kyrgyz delegation will explore ways to implement these ideas and strengthen judges’ education for a stronger judiciary.