During a three day seminar from August 28-30, International Bridges to Justice organized and facilitated a pioneer criminal defense skills training involving 64 lawyers from in and around the capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare. Spearheaded by IBJ lead trainer Anthony Natale (a practicing trial lawyer from the Miami Federal Office), and assisted by Karen Tse (IBJ Founder and CEO), Innocent Maja (IBJ Zimbabwe Senior Fellow and Country Manager), Professor Geoff Feltoe (University of Zimbabwe Law Professor), and Alec Muchadehama (a leading human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe), local lawyers engaged in exercises aimed at enhancing their knowledge of the practical skills involved in criminal defense, as well as their knowledge of the Zimbabwe’s criminal procedures.
Using innovative and interactive exercises, the training focused on increasing the capability of local lawyers to provide competent defenses to accused persons, of which has been a problematic issue for many Zimbabweans. They explored a plethora of legal concepts such as cross-examination and procedures to prevent torture against prisoners, helping the participating lawyers in garnering invaluable skills and experience. Summarizing the training for many, one of the participants concluded, “this has made us believe that it is not extraordinary men and women who change the course of history, but ordinary men and women with extraordinary skills and beliefs.”