Project : Strengthening professional training on the ECHR

Support to Human Rights National Implementation

Title Strengthening professional training on the ECHR – European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (the HELP Programme)
Project area Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia, “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Ukraine
Budget EUR 1 500 000
Funding CoE Human Rights Trust Fund
Implementation Legal and Human Rights Capacity Building Department (LHRCB)
Duration 01/02/2010 - 31/01/2013 (36 months)

Overall objective:
To support member states in implementing the ECHR at the national level by assisting national training institutions of judges and prosecutors in fully incorporating the ECHR into their curricula for initial and continuous training.

Expected result 1:
Member states integrate the HELP curriculum and use the materials in their national training, using the HELP methodology, and tools.

Expected result 2:
Further ECHR materials and tools are developed and updated. Member states can access all HELP ECHR materials on-line in several languages.

Expected result 3:
The European HR Training Network for the exchange of good practices and experience among those responsible for initial and in-service training of judges and prosecutors encouraged and facilitated through bilateral and multilateral meetings.

Outputs and results and possible follow up

The HELP II Programme was launched in 2010 as a follow-up to the European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (the HELP Programme). It focused on promoting the domestic application of the ECHR by judges and prosecutors through capacity building of national training institutions as regards ECHR training. The project’s website (http://www.coehelp.org) and resources provided a crucial platform to improve the training capacity of these institutions to incorporate the ECHR into initial and continuous training.

The project resulted in exchange of experience among all twelve beneficiary countries as regards the state of integration of human rights into the training programmes of their national training institutions. The latter’s specific individual needs as regards training and learning processes and methodology were examined. Their approach to development of training materials and E-learning, translation of ECtHR case law and other relevant materials has been highlighted.

Three working groups were established on the following subjects: 1) development of materials; 2) training-of-trainers; 3) E-learning.

The first working group focused on the state of play as regards the development of training materials in each beneficiary country. Suggestions were formulated as to how specific materials could be updated in accordance with the specific needs of their respective national training institutions. Feedback on the latter’s respective needs for thematic training seminars on either a national or regional level and access to the HELP website and its resources was discussed.

The working group on training-of-trainers focused on the selection criteria employed in selecting trainers, the details of training programmes for future trainers and problems encountered in selecting, retaining and assessing trainers. The working group discussed refresher courses for national trainers and how to expand upon and keep existing teams of trainers.

The working group on E-learning identified at which stage beneficiary countries were in the implementation of E-learning in their respective national training programmes. Discussions resulted in formulating recommendations on the daily topics and subjects for future co-operation in the field of E-learning. The best European practices of E-learning courses and methodology, as well as E-learning’s development were discussed.

Universal training methodology that was specifically adapted to the different needs of the beneficiary countries and the target groups programme has been delivered. Furthermore, the training materials and E-learning courses have been developed to reflect the transversal needs of judges and prosecutors in each training institution.

The multilateral aspect of HELP II has enhanced the learning experience of each training institution. This was achieved through the sharing of experiences at regular multilateral meetings and working groups. Similarly, the project benefited from discussion related to best comparable practices of other CoE member states. The HELP II Programme actively encouraged horizontal co-operation between the beneficiary countries in order to facilitate dialogue and enhance the networking between the training institutions. The Programme therefore valued and relied heavily on the commitment of the training institutions of the beneficiary countries.

The need to ensure ownership of the project by national institutions has been crucial to ensure its continuing success. The partners’ good knowledge and grasp of the relevant issues and their suggestions as to how the project could be of further concrete assistance in their efforts to strengthen the training on the ECHR has been a positive indication that this was being achieved.

The priorities for the HELP II Programme in 2011 will be to enlarge the number of countries benefiting from it and to involve, in addition to the national training institutions for judges and prosecutors, also other relevant training institutions such as judges’ or prosecutors’ associations or relevant NGOs. Additionally, the project will seek to involve lawyers’ associations to allow lawyers to benefit from the project’s resources. The training networks will be maintained throughout national jurisdictions, as well as across the borders. Focus will be placed on the development of E-learning materials. Training programmes will be adapted to suit legal professionals through exchange of experience with their peers from other jurisdictions. The ongoing co-operation will also be multi-country and not just regional.