Hello from Switzerland!
It seems as time as flown, and I haven't filled everyone in in awhile. It seems as though time has flown, and I have only 2 weeks left here. Luckily, I am getting follow through with a pretty big project of mine in my last bit of time. I have been working primarily on Zimbabwe this summer. In addition to drafting a UN Victims for Torture Fund mid-year summary for our grant for Zimbabwe, I've been working onthe Zimbabwe criminal defense training. Originally, the plan was for it to be in November- some of our staff just returned from a 3 week trip to Africa, which saw two back-to-back trainings in Rwanda and Burundi. But, while in Africa, one of our staff flew to Harare to meet with Innocent, our fellow there, to discuss logistics and it is now about 80% settled that the training will take place the 3rd week of August. There is a Summer School session happening over the next couple of weeks so resources could be reused to aid in the training logistics. While the dates aren't set, it seems like it will happen. So, I have just finished creating a hypothetical situation that will be enacted by those attending the training session.
Fighting off the feelings of post traumatic stress disorder from the batch of exams of 1L year, I created a fact pattern essentially from the arrest of an accused person in Zimbabwe all the way up until trial, sentencing, and appeal. I read Baseline Surveys for the country, torture reports from the UN, the Criminal Procedure code (called the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act), along with Zim's constitution and the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, containing the substantive criminal law of the country. I've also done research to include culturally relevant and pertinent references in the hypo so that those attending will be familiar with the setting and situations. It's been really, really interesting. The next step is to work with federal public defenders back in the states getting them up to speed on the laws of the country, as some have volunteered to go over and help in August. We also will make the hypothetical electronic- so it will be synced to music and to photos, almost like a documentary film (the more creative types will have to help me out in this department).
Other than work, I've had a good amount of time to explore. I have to say, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Waking up some days is almost surreal- the mountains and scenery look like they've been painted. A few weeks ago, I headed to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn and hike, and this past weekend I went to Contamines, the town over from Chamonix, to climb up Mount Joy, which faces Mont Blanc. To say it was beautiful is the understatement of the century. Words and pictures don't really do it justice! There is a jazz festival in Montreux, about an hour north of here, happening all month, so I am going up on Friday night with a few friends to listen to music and dance (and probably eat too much cheese and chocolate, which happens fairly regularly here, unsurprisingly!) I am going to go on a bike ride to Hermance, a town in France about 2 hours away, on Sunday if the weather is nice, so I'm looking forward to that as well. Today marked the first time I swam in Lake Geneva- while I've been to the beach here, I hadn't yet gone in- and for good reason- the water was freezing!
This has probably gone on for far too long now, but I wanted to update everyone as much as I could. Hope everyone is doing well, and I will see you all soon stateside!