The UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law
A legal system is the basis of a state, the framework, which determines the stability of the social and political system, called a state. Information can be compared with the circulatory system, which supports the vital activity of a whole organism. In this respect, legal information is the most important one, because it guarantees the functioning of the state as a system.
Legal informatization is a process of providing all entities of the society with uniform, reliable, valid and complete information, i. e. it constitutes a basis for adequate perception of the information component of legal rules that is very urgent for the reformation of civil society and the formation of a democratic, constitutional and social state in the Republic of Belarus.
One of the important components of legal informatization is education as a basis for acquiring new knowledge and the creation of new technologies. In the Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Teaching, Research and Education in the Field of Law and Technology (19 October 1992), it is noted that “the development of information technologies provide a lawyer with new instruments, promotes changes in business practice and government and enhances the efficiency of law”. Thus, legal informatization as a process of enhancing the efficiency of the informational impact of law on social relations through the application of new information technologies in the sphere of law, is one of the necessary conditions for the harmonious development of the society and state and the improvement of the national legislation system.
One can say that the effectiveness of law is founded on the legal culture. First of all, on the legal culture of the authorities which need the law as a basic principal of their activity, and on the legal culture of business organizations and citizens that address the legal rules for settling conflicts. In order to ensure such a legal culture in society, it is necessary to first possess legal knowledge, i. e. the knowledge of rights, duties and other legal rules. The source of such knowledge is legal information and the instrument, which guarantees the completeness, actuality and availability of legal information, is legal informatization. Hence, it is clear that education in this sphere is one of the most important tasks of the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus (NCLI) from the moment of its foundation in 1997.
The conclusion of the Agreement between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus concerning the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law at the NCLI, can be considered as appreciation of the achievements of the NCLI in this sphere. The Director-General of UNESCO and the Director of the NCLI signed this agreement in April 2003. UNESCO Chairs have been founded under the UNITWIN Programme since 1992, according to the Resolution, adopted at the 26th UNESCO session. The programme aims to promote inter-governmental cooperation, contribute to the exchange of knowledge between higher education institutions and to strengthen academic solidarity in the world. As of today, more than 500 Chairs have been founded under the UNITWIN Programme in 113 countries around the world, including 6 Chairs founded in Belarus. One of the activities carried out by the UNESCO Chairs is the organization of research and education in the field of information technologies.
The UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law is a scientific and methodological center. It operates on the basis of Regulations, adopted by the NCLI and agreed upon by leading structures of the Republic of Belarus in the field of law and informatization. The activity of the Chair is carried out in the form of seminars, national and international conferences, educational programmes and the publication of scientific and methodological materials.
The activity of the UNESCO Chair will cover the most important aspects of social development related to the problems of informatization and legal informatization in particular, such as:
- scientific, educational, methodological and propaganda activity in the field of law and information technologies, preparation and publication of methodological and study aids on legal informatization, computer science, legal informatics and information law;
- coordinating and summarizing scientific and educational activity carried out in the field of law and information technologies, legal informatization, information law in the Republic of Belarus and the organization of collaboration with similar UNESCO Chairs around the world, researchers and research institutions in this sphere;
- analysizing existing problems and preparing of proposals concerning the improvement of legislation in the sphere of forming a single information and legal information space;
- scientific and practical research in the field of legal informatization and formatting a single legal information space in the Republic of Belarus and
- scientific and practical research in the sphere of information law.
Now the UNESCO Chair is at the stage of formation and advances the activity, according to the directions established by the Agreement between UNESCO and the NCLI, seeing that:
- the Regulations for the UNESCO Chair are developed, accepted and coordinated with all interested;
- the Typical Regulations for the Departments (Affiliations) of the UNESCO Chair are developed;
- the Basic Department of the UNESCO Chair in the Belarusian Institute of Jurisprudence is created;
- under the auspices of the UNESCO Chair on December 12, 2003 the conference “Modern Constitutional State: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects of the Development” was held in the Belarusian Institute of Jurisprudence. The UNESCO Chair organizes and carries out the work of the section “Information Technologies in Law”;
- with the participation of the employees of the UNESCO Chair and under the auspices of the UNESCO Chair, the edition of the scientific and practical magazine “Problems of Legal Informatization” is prepared;
- works on the creation of a network of departments (affiliations) of the UNESCO Chair in leading higher educational establishments of the country are carried out;
- the training and methodological aid “The Standard Databank of Legal Information”, intended for students and post-graduate students, has been prepared;
- the Site about the activity of UNESCO Chairs in the Republic of Belarus is created.
In January, 2008 the UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law at the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus started the project “The development of instruments of access to legislation in the sphere of the right for education and rights of the children in the Republic of Belarus” provided for creation of systematized thematic collating of normative legal acts currently in force in the Republic of Belarus and other documents concerning issues of legal status of children, their education and labor activity, responsibility, and also other issues connected with analysis and application of the juvenile legislation.
On April 16, 2009 in Moscow at the Russian State Humanitarian University the presentation of the Children's legal site of the Republic of Belarus took place within the framework of the Second Subregional meeting of human rights experts in the sphere of UNESCO competence. The Children's legal site was the result of the innovative project of the National center of legal information of the Republic of Belarus “To work out and to create the information resource in the Internet for children on legal matters, including creation of the software and technological complex of its maintenance”.
On May 14, 2009 within the framework of the International conference “Professional and technical education and education for sustainable development” the databank “The World of Law” integrated into the Children's legal site and the thematic databank “Monuments of the Belarus Law History” were demonstrated to Assistant Director-General Q.Tang, to Director of UNESCO Office in Moscow D.Badarch, representatives of this Office and the National Commission for UNESCO of the Republic of Belarus.
On November 25, 2010 in the national Library of the Republic of Belarus III International scientific and practical conference “Information technology and Law (Legal Informatization – 2010)” was held. Conference was arranged by the National center of legal information of the Republic of Belarus and UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law at the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus.
On May 24, 2011 the meeting of the UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law took place at the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus. Heads of divisions of the UNESCO Chair in higher educational, scientific and other institutions of the Republic of Belarus took part in this meeting. Issues of improvement of effectiveness of UNESCO Chair activity on using of the newest information technologies in education were discussed.
In 2012 the UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law at the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus joined the Network of UNESCO Chairs working in the field of application of information and communication technologies in education and innovative pedagogy.
This Network was created for establishment of the long-term program of cooperation among UNESCO Chairs working in the field of application of the ICTs in education and innovative pedagogy for joining of efforts for:
- working out and realization of innovative models of application of the ICTs in education,
- creation and realization of programs of international masters studies in the sphere of application of the ICTs in education, and also
generalization and dissemination of experience of application of the ICTs in education.
In September, 2012 the UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law at the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus took part in the International Conference “UNESCO Chairs Partnership on ICTs use in Education” which was held in St.-Petersburg in the framework of XIII International Forum “Modern information society formation – problems, perspectives, innovation approaches”. About 50 representatives from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, China, Latvia, Moldova, Russia and Uzbekistan took part in the work of the Conference. Issues of the UNESCO Chairs Partnership on ICTs use in Education were discussed during the Conference. Conference was arranged by the UNECSO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, UNESCO Moscow Office, National Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, St.-Petersburg Office, Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation, UNESCO Chair “Distance engineering education”.
On November 1, 2012 the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus and the UNESCO Chair in Information Technologies and Law arranged and held the IV International Scientific and Practical Conference "Information Technology and Law (Legal Informatization - 2012)". Issues of priority directions of the state policy of the Republic of Belarus in the sphere of legal informatization in the context of information society formation, improvement of the state system of legal information were reviewed. Participants considered the improvement of legislation in the sphere of legal informatization, scientific and practical support of these processes. Also perspectives of the creation and the implementation of innovative technologies in the sphere of legal informatization were discussed.