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Videoconference on Civic Initiatives for Judicial Reform and Countering Corruption
 
On 16 September, 2005 the Center for Study of Democracy and Sofia Distance Learning Center hosted the third videoconference on an anticorruption pilot program titled Civic Initiatives for Judicial Reform and Countering Corruption, which was delivered to representatives of public and private sector organizations and NGOs at the National Academy of Public Administration under the President of Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine and representatives from public and private sector and donor community in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The pilot program on Anti-corruption was developed by CSD and Coalition 2000 and will be delivered through the GDLN network to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The program consists of a series of five videoconferencing sessions covering the following aspects of anti-corruption policies: Public Private Partnerships in Countering Corruption; Corruption Monitoring and Assessment Techniques; Civic Initiatives for Judicial Reform and Countering Corruption; Hidden Economy and Corruption; and Organized Crime and Corruption.

The main speakers during the video discussion were: Mr. Chris Thompson, Chief of Party and Mr. Katilin Popov, Staff Attorney, USAID Commercial Law Reform Project in Sofia and Dr. Maria Yordanova, Director of Law Program, Center for the Study of Democracy / Coalition 2000.

In their presentation Mr. Thompson and Mr. Popov presented the main characteristics of the recently adopted Law on Private Enforcement Agents. This law is expected to have direct positive effects on the business environment in the country through the increase in the collection of private and public debts and better contract enforcement. The most important indirect effects of the passing of this law include: improved accountability and transparency of the judiciary, increase in the public trust in the court system, introduction of a “market-based” mechanism in the collection of debts through the establishment of the private bailiffs and improving efficiency in debt collection and services to citizens in this area.

The focus of the presentation of Dr. Maria Yordanova was on the development and introduction of a number of legislative initiatives and constitutional amendments for countering internal corruption in the judiciary in Bulgaria since 1998, which were a result of the joint efforts of Coalition 2000 and representatives from different governmental and nongovernmental institutions. Dr. Yordanova also listed some of the remaining challenges for the judiciary reform in Bulgaria: taking out the investigation from the judicial system and moving it entirely to the executive branch of power; establishment of an election process for supreme magistrates and prosecutors and making them directly accountable to the National Assembly; continuing the company registration reform and the introduction of new technologies in the judiciary, etc.

The video session is expected to encourage policy makers and NGOs to actively interact and cooperate with each other for achieving better results in the area of judicial reform and anti-corruption and to develop international networks of experts in the area of judicial reform and anti-corruption as a mechanism for continuing international cooperation.

Videoconference background materials
Presentation of Mr. Chris Thompson, Chief of Party and Mr. Katilin Popov, Staff Attorney, USAID Commercial Law Reform Project, Sofia, Bulgaria (Microsoft Powerpoint, 73 Kb)
Presentation of Dr. Maria Yordanova, Director of Law Program, Center for the Study of Democracy / Coalition 2000, Sofia, Bulgaria (Microsoft Powerpoint, 291 Kb)
Outline of Module 3: Civic Initiatives for Judicial Reform and Countering Corruption (MS Word, 57 Kb)

Previous videoconferences on the Program on Anti-corruption
First Videoconference on Public Private Partnerships in Countering Corruption – 18 July, 2005
Second Videoconference on Hidden Economy and Corruption - 9 September, 2005

Other events and publications on the topic of Civic Initiatives for Judicial Reform implemented by the Center for Study of Democracy
Videoconference: ECA Regional GDLN Policy Dialogue on Investment Climate: Strengthening Commercial Law Framework – 22 March, 2005
Press conference: Presentation of the Judicial Anti-Corruption Program – 2 October, 2003
Discussion meeting: Presentation of the Judicial Anti-Corruption Program – 24 June, 2003
Judicial Anti-Corruption Program
Program for Judicial Reform in Bulgaria
 
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