On Thursday 3 May 2018, CILC had the honor of welcoming the Mayor of The Hague Pauline Krikke. The Mayor wanted to learn more about how CILC is promoting The Hague as the International City of Peace and Justice. Chairman of the supervisory committee Reinier van Zutphen and director Willem van Nieuwkerk welcomed Pauline Krikke and gave her a brief introduction about CILC and its history. While visiting the office, a number of colleagues and experts gave the Mayor insight into CILC’s projects.
Deputy director Eric Vincken, responsible for various projects in the Western Balkans, discussed CILC’s past and current involvement in the Western Balkans against the background of the EU’s Western Balkans Enlargement Strategy and the European Commission’s proposal to open negotiations with Albania and Macedonia. His discussions focused on projects which seek to increase capacities for the fight against organized crime in the region as well as CILC’s support to prepare Albanian institutions to meet the criteria for EU accession. In the discussion that followed, it was also stressed that an efficient cooperation with The Hague based institutions such as EUROJUST and EUROPOL is of eminent importance for building up a credible track record in the fight against organised crime.
Project manager Lino Brosius spoke about CILC’s work on probation and alternative sanctions in Eastern-Europe, zooming in on the Matra-project in Ukraine that started a couple of months ago. There, CILC’s work includes sensitizing prosecutors and judges to apply non-custodial measures and sanctions, assisting the newly founded Ukrainian Probation Service to deliver a quality probation output, and fostering support for alternative sanctions in society. The concept of probation is new for Ukraine, and therefore working in parallel on all these strands is essential.
After the Western Balkans and Ukraine, Pauline Krikke was connected to Palestine through an online platform. Here, CILC implements the project “Capacity Building in Higher Legal Education”. The project team in the West Bank (including CILC project manager Elger Vermeer) dialed in to tell about the importance of this project to support the rule of law in Palestine by improving legal education and research at four universities, the Palestinian Judicial Institute and the Palestinian Bar Association. The team highlighted the value of the project in providing an opportunity to young promising law graduates to pursue their PhD at universities in the Netherlands and the joint research initiative which links Dutch scholars with their Palestinian peers for conducting joint legal research and seeking international publication, amongst others on the topic of law and violence.
A last short introduction concerned the work by Yuen Yen Tsai who is involved as a facilitator in different training programs for legal professionals. The Mayor listened with great attention to how playful learning can be mixed with complex, legal frameworks in order to achieve greater learning impact. Seeing introduction clips from judges from the Shiraka training in Northern Africa and the Middle East gave insight into how training can be more effective. As the Mayor put it: “I can see that the way CILC presents their courses, where students process theories and materials immediately for the next part of the program, really sticks with them. And forms a bond that lasts well beyond the duration of the course itself, creating a support network around the world”. Pauline Krikke and Yuen Yen shared the view on how friendships can emerge during these trainings and how vital these friendships are.
At the end of the working visit the CILC director thanked the Mayor for her visit and gave her a copy of the CILC Stories book. We hope to continue discussing with the City Hall how CILC can assist The Hague with promoting it as the International City of Peace and Justice.