Kyrgyzstanis attend Arizona court proceedings

ASU Web Devil — March 26, 2008

Russian delegates from Kyrgyzstan may see their legal structure from a different perspective after they sat in at the Arizona Supreme Court oral arguments this week.

ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law hosted the nine delegates in the college's Great Hall on Tuesday morning.

The delegates — eight men and one woman — all hold legal professions in Kyrgyzstan. They were here to learn how to improve the legal system in their home country.

This was the first trip to America for the delegates.

"From the very first moment we met at the airport, we were impressed with how friendly everyone was," delegate Gulia Kozhokulova said.

The delegates sat in as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on cases being appealed. Delegate Askat Sydykov said he was impressed by the conduct of the court and the training that the state provides for its attorneys.

"The atmosphere and benevolence was impressive," Sydykov said. "Everything was an open dialogue and was a healthy discussion."

Janie Magruder, associate director of the law school's office of communications, said that the court comes to ASU annually. However, this is the first time delegates from Kyrgyzstan have attended the proceedings.

Other delegates, such as Kozhokulova and Ashyrbek Kurmanov, were surprised that such hearings would occur in an open setting on a campus, since they said no such thing would ever occur in their country. In their home country, court proceedings are private.

The delegates came to the U.S. through the Open World Program and the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium.

The consortium is designed to help Russian legal institutions implement reform.

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