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September 01, 2015

Leaders of Kyrgyzstan’s Defense Bar Association Visit the United States

September 2015

From July 9–18, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) partnered with the Open World Leadership Center (OWLC) to host a U.S. study tour for five leaders of Kyrgyzstan’s defense advocates’ bar association—the Advocatura. The delegation met with various American legal actors to share experiences on the administration of a bar association.

The week-long study tour incorporated a mock-trial competition, visits to various institutions and meetings with U.S. justice sector actors and ABA ROLI leadership.

Established in November 2014, the Advocatura is mandated with coordinating the activities of Kyrgyzstan’s defense-advocate community, including efforts to foster professional development, ethics and engagement in the country’s ongoing legal reform processes. The delegation spent three days in Washington, D.C., and seven days in Chicago, meeting with representatives from several ABA entities, as well as local and state bar associations. The visiting Advocatura leaders discussed with their U.S. counterparts on how to develop and implement effective association policies, including on professional development and ethics. The delegates said that their new association seeks to increase the quality of legal services throughout Kyrgyzstan and to contribute to a strong and just legal system for all citizens. Discussions also addressed legislative advocacy, bar services, legal aid for the indigent and information technology.

The visiting group also met with judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to observe legal proceedings in both cities. In their meetings with the delegation, representatives from the Illinois and Chicago bar associations shared insights on how to best delegate authority to regional bar associations to empower them to provide standardized services for their members. The leaders of the Advocatura are in the process of establishing regional branches for their organization.

Through the support of the OWLC and WorldChicago, a local cultural exchange organization, the Kyrgyzstani delegates spent their time in Chicago in home stays with local families, which allowed them to build closer connections with host families. The study tour is part of ABA ROLI’s U.S. Agency for International Development-funded program to support the Kyrgyzstani legal defense community.

To learn more about our work in Kyrgyzstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]