Serbia - Developing Public Sector Capacities for Judicial Training: An Interactive Handbook for Policy and Decision Makers, Practitioners and their Public Sector Counterparts
Country(ies): Former Yugoslavia / Serbia-Montenegro / Serbia (hereinafter referred to as Serbia)
Primary thematic focus: Capacity challenges in post-crisis and transitional situations
In a Nutshell:
The JTC illustrates best practice in institutional development for judicial reform in post-crisis situations. The evidence generated and lessons learned during its establishment have been synthesized into an interactive Handbook illustrating how the CD approach can be applied to institutionalize judicial training systems as a key element of judicial reform.
Background: In the 1990s, public institutions in Serbia were in a weak state due to politicization, centralization, economic collapse and the outflow of many skilled people. The corrupt and inefficient court system became one of the major obstacles to developing democracy and a market economy. In Serbia, no judicial training had previously been undertaken and the judiciary had been cut off internationally from their colleagues and from developments in the field of human rights and international standards. Judicial training is crucial. Only judges who know the law and how to apply it can properly exercise their judicial function. Training can be undertaken by many different actors, but to have maximum impact, it should be coordinated and regulated by a central body to ensure that training is not duplicated and that all recipients receive the level and content of training they require. The formation of a democratic government at the end of 2000 marked a change in direction for Serbia. Against this backdrop UNDP provided a platform for dialogue between two traditional adversaries, the Ministry of Justice and the Association of Judges. Engagement of these stakeholders together with key donors and civil society actors led to an agreement to establish the JTC in 2001. UNDP supported the JTC through 2 project cycles and in only 8 years it was established and transformed from a recipient of training through to a full-fledged provider of training and project implementer. It has been absorbed into the State budget and fully institutionalized.
The JTC has developed the functional and technical capacities needed to develop, implement and evaluate trainings and projects in a comprehensive manner, and to bring on board needed partners and resources in line with its overall vision and strategic priorities. Interactive Handbook: The evidence generated and lessons learned throughout the process of establishing and developing the capacities of the JTC have been synthesized into an interactive and web-based Handbook. The Handbook seeks to demonstrate what made the establishment of the JTC successful and how it has been able to anticipate and respond to challenges while staying relevant and effective in providing services to its clients. The Handbook applies UNDP’s Capacity Development Approach to illustrate key action points and considerations that decision/policy makers and practitioners may want to take into account when engaging stakeholders, assessing capacity assets and needs, formulating, implementing and evaluating capacity development responses in judicial reform processes in post-conflict/transition contexts. It links closely with Session 8 on Day 3 of the Knowledge Fair, Enabling Capacities for a Just State and a Just Society.
The Handbook: (i) Illustrates the steps behind how a successful capacity development process can be conceived, implemented and evaluated. (ii) Highlights the actions that can work throughout the process. (iii) Uses JTC evidence to show why certain approaches did/did not work in a specific context. (iv) Enables decision makers and other users to judge how and when they can adapt these actions to their own circumstances.
Online Functionality: Based on the Judicial Education for Development: Turn Guide, the Handbook will be finalised during February 2010 and will be available online, linking users to downloadable resources, an interactive knowledge map containing links to relevant websites, tools and articles, and an interactive quiz, which users can take to assess their level of knowledge before and after using the Handbook. It also includes extracts of interviews from key stakeholders involved in the establishment of the JTC. Through the online function, the user will be able to select which information is relevant for his/her purposes, thus utilising the Tool in the most effective way.
Results and Critical Factors:
(i) Quantitative Impact: As of 2009, the JTC had held a total of 1043 training sessions—599 for judges, 352 for prosecutors, 59 for lawyers and 33 for others, reaching 27,101 beneficiaries—16,543 judges, 5,002 prosecutors, 4,367 lawyers and 989 others, with an investment of EUR 6 million.
(ii) Qualitative Impact: A clear system for professional advancement was initiated and institutionalized. The JTC provides trainings on all major laws and relays all legal developments and trends to Serbia’s Judiciary.
(iii) Ownership: The JTC was established by the Ministry of Justice and the Association of Judges. This proved the most effective solution and ensured local ownership in that both partners took full leadership of the process. UNDP ensured the inclusion of the JTC in the National Judicial Reform Strategy, which foresaw the JTC as the sole institution responsible for judicial training in Serbia. This was reflected through the JTC being awarded its first certification mandate. The JTC is currently being transformed into a National Judicial Academy.
(iv) Phased Approach and exit strategy: The relationship with the Ministry of Justice was critical in ensuring the success of the JTC. UNDP adopted a phased approach with the Ministry, whereby UNDP paid salaries in full during the first year of implementation, 50% during the second year and the Ministry assumed full responsibility during the third year. This proved highly effective and ensured the sustainability of the institution prior to UNDP's exit.
(v) Integration and Institutionalization of feedback/M&E mechanisms and the data systems to underpin them: The JTC was able to plan for, implement and institutionalize M&E mechanisms, which allowed it to move from assessing individual trainer/training effectiveness to assessing organisational performance as well as its development impact. It also enabled the JTC to adapt to changing circumstances by incorporating feedback throughout.
(vi) Move from DIM to NIM and the related capacity development to provide for NIM: The capacity support provided to the JTC contributed to strengthening its institutional capacities, allowing the JTC over time to substantially and operationally take full leadership over its activities.
Name of Primary Contact Person: Olivera Puric
Title of Primary Contact Person: Team Leader, UNDP Governance Cluster