Things are going well in Switzerland. After a very successful and interesting Fellows Summit, the office turned it's focus to the criminal defense trainings in Rwanda and Burundi- The one in Rwanda is being held right now in Kigali, then some of the staff heads to Burundi next weekend for the other training. I wasn't actively involved in the prep for those trainings, since I came in in the midst of it all, but I did help a bit at the end getting everything together. I am really excited to hear how it all goes- apparently, on the first day of the Kigali training, 58 lawyers showed up. This is very big, as our fellow from Rwanda told us a big obstacle in getting people to be adequately defended is that there is a general lack of interest in criminal law work for lawyers in Rwanda. While the Kigali Bar Association generally requires lawyers to take on at least 2 pro bono cases per year, this is not regulated or followed, making it nearly impossible for indigent people to gain access to counsel. So, this was a very good development on day 1 of the training.
In addition to helping draft a few proposals for funding in Rwanda, I've now been asked to help to pull together some training materials for a criminal defense training that will occur in Zimbabwe in 2009. I'm currently reading the Zimbabwean Constitution and dealing with the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (WZW's version of a Code of Criminal procedure). I am trying to extract the black letter law and put together 4 days worth of presentations, as well as writing a hypothetical for a role playing exercise. It should be really interesting- it's a bit tricky navigating the Criminal Law Act, as it's not a run of the mill Code of Criminal Procedure and is rather skeletal (and has only been in force really since 2005). The Constitution runs like an extended Bill of Rights, and has some interesting bits to it.
Time is definitely flying here! It continues to be beautiful here- the weather is perfect and makes the time out of work tons of fun. I am heading to Zermatt for the 4th of July weekend and hoping to get in a good hike while celebrating the holiday away from home!
Hope everyone is doing well, and I will write more soon.