Reporter (Saratov, Russia)
Posted on April 24, 2004
By Roman Obnorsky and Yuri Nabatov
The three-day international legal conference for the Open World Program alumni closed on April 24. Saratov was the 25th city to host a meeting of Russian and American lawyers, judges, and law professors. The conference covered a number of rule of law topics.
On April 22, 2004, Saratov hosted unusual students including court chairmen and ordinary judges from many regions of Russia, as well as professors and scholars. The main guests were three judges from the United States: Paul Magnuson, Michael Mihm, and Sid Brooks. All these people have common interests – they participated in Open World, a Russian-American exchange program.
The program was established in May 1999 at the initiative of the U.S. Library of Congress. In October 2001, the program was officially named Open World after an independent management body, the center in Washington, was established.
The rule of law program, a specialized program implemented by the Open World Leadership Center, included organized trips to the United States for Russian judges, prosecutors, attorneys, law professors and court personnel. Four hundred and fifty-three judges from sixty-six Russian regions have participated in the program. Nine members of the RF Supreme Court, seven representatives of the RF Arbitration Court, as well as judges from Russia’s divisions, visited the United States under the program. Since 2001, Russian participants in the rule of law program have visited courts, jails, law firms and higher education establishments in forty-two U.S. states.
Saratov judges take an active part in the rule of law international program. The Saratov Region Arbitration Court has become an outstanding participant and one of the first sister courts for the Colorado Bankruptcy Court. Sid Brooks, a judge from this court, said at a press conference, “…Saratov judges are serious and smart people, and they are very focused on legal problems.”
It is not a coincidence that Saratov was chosen as the site for the Open World Program alumni conference “Modern Aspects of the Administration of Justice in Russia and the United States.” Our region is the first Russian region to introduce trial by jury and the institution of the justice of the peace. Arbitration Court Chairman Alexander Baranov said at the press conference that he actively cooperates and exchanges experience with his U.S. counterparts who were involved in working out the new bankruptcy law that is so necessary for the Russian economy.
The conference evidently brought the spirit of the "rule of law” into the minds of Saratov representatives, which would be beneficial for all ordinary citizens who want be confident in the professionalism of Russian judicial authorities.
[Reprinted with Permission]