Five Russian judges to visit SIUC

By Gus Bode

Group will speak at forum tonight

Factoid:The one-hour forum will take place at 5 p.m. today at the Law School auditorium. A reception follows the event.

Two decades ago, communism had an iron grip on the Soviet Union, and there were vast differences between the country’s justice system compared to the United States.


But after the fall of communism in Russia, the legal systems of both nations are beginning to appear more similar.

Five Russian judges will discuss recent changes made in their country’s judicial system in a forum at 5 p.m. today at the Lesar Law Building auditorium.

The judges will be a great aid in explaining reforms made last year in the Russian legal system, said Patrick Kelley, the SIUC professor of law who is moderating the event.

“The judicial reforms of 2001 are significant reforms in the Russian judicial system,” he said. “These judges will know those changes in detail.”

Recent changes in Russia include new criminal procedure practices that require judges to sign search and arrest warrants, Kelley said.

Some of the students attending the forum are studying comparative law, Kelley said.

The judges are visiting through the Library of Congress’ Open World program, which is operated by the Center for Russian Leadership Development. Locally, the Rotary Club of Carbondale has assisted the judges with housing and transportation.


Sarah Heyer, a member of the organization and former SIUC lecturer who taught Russian, said she was happy to help the judges, who will use language interpreters during the forum. She said the advances made in Russia’s judicial system are enjoyable to learn.

“It’s interesting to find out the changes that are happening in Russia,” she said.

Reporter Ben Botkin can be reached at [email protected]