Russian, U.S. judges find many similarities
The Forum (Fargo, ND)
Posted on September 13, 2002
By Jeff Zent
|North Dakota's chief justice Gerald VandeWalle, left, listens as Russian judges discuss differences between the two judicial systems during a forum at the Fargo Theatre Thursday. Photo by Dave Wallis / The Forum|
But the group of American and Russian judges walked out of the historic Fargo Theater Thursday struck most by their similarities.
"We have so much in common, and I didn't expect that," U.S. District Judge Rodney Webb said.
"Perhaps the problems of the world aren't the people; perhaps the problems are governments," North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle said.
Webb and Vandewalle participated in a public forum with four Russian judges to discuss the differences between the two nations' judicial systems.
About 50 people, including several Fargo-Moorhead lawyers, attended the forum.
The Russian judges arrived in Fargo Tuesday for a three-day visit to learn more about the American judicial system.
What they learn will help them and other Russian leaders reform their judicial system, Boris Raykes, a regional court judge from the western Russia city of Tver, told the crowd through an interpreter.
Federation President Vladimir Putin has pledged sweeping government reforms that include the nation's judiciary system.
Russia will institute jury trials in all of its 89 territories next year, Raykes said.
During their Fargo visit, the Russian judges are attending federal and state court proceedings, and meeting local judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and court administrators.
Before traveling to Fargo, the judges spent three days observing courts in St. Louis.
From the remnants of communism, Russia is building a democratic country ruled by law, Raykes said.
It's a change 10 years in the making, and a difficult one for may Russians to accept, Raykes said.
"We will learn this lesson in the U.S.," he said.
Copyright © 2002 The Forum. Used with permission.
[Reprinted with Permission]