Friday, May 2, 2014

A Cultural Exchange

On April 29, I had an enjoyable dinner with seven Libyan judges who had spent the day in Columbus, touring the local courts and observing oral arguments at our Supreme Court. The judges came to Ohio as part of a three-week visit sponsored by the government of Libya to learn about the American system of justice. Following their professional training program, these judicial delegates will return to Libya with new ideas based on their experiences abroad.

At the dinner, I discovered that this is a time of great promise for Libyans. The State of Libya is located in northern Africa and has a population of more than 6 million. Since 2011, with the death of Muammar Gaddafi and his regime, Libya has been governed by a temporary constitution and is undergoing political reconstruction and reform. The judges told me that the new members of the commission charged with drafting the consitution had recently been announced and that they were eager for the completion of its work. The document will be put to a referendum when a new constitution is completed. The people of Libya will have a say.

Justice Lanzinger with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Libyan delegates and guests

The Libyan judges join a special group of visitors. The Ohio Supreme Court has worked with lawyers, judges, legislators, and government officials from other countries to help develop independent judiciaries and train judges for more than 20 years. I, myself, was part of a delegation to Ukraine in 1995, and we have also had visitors from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, and Serbia. The personal contact between judges of different cultures cannot be overestimated, and I am happy to have been part of the conversation with our colleagues from Libya.

No comments:

Post a Comment