Sunday, July 18, 1999

Hamilton Co. judge to lend expertise to Mongolia's courts

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Hamilton County judge will arrive in Mongolia this weekend to help that nation develop a plan for judicial reform.

        After two decades of Soviet control, Mongolia is trying to form a democratic system. Common Pleas Judge Mark Schweikert will join two other consultants, from Denver and Germany, on a three-week trip to the country.

        “One of the things we want to make clear to them is that we're not here to tell them how they should do things,” said Judge Schweikert, who has 14 years experience as a court administrator. “We're there to help them organize their approach to the problems so that they can move quickly and effectively toward whatever goals they set for themselves.”

        Judge Schweikert said he was contacted by the National Center for State Courts to participate.The project is similar to a 1995 program to assist the Ukraine he joined through the Ohio Rule of Law Project.The aim is to improve the structure and organization of Mongolia's court system.

        The consultants will conduct a three-day seminar, and afterward they will develop a blueprint for Mongolian officials to achieve their goals.

        Mongolia's court system is organized as a civil law system where one of the main roles of judges is to act as investigators. By comparison, the United States relies heavily on common law and case precedent, Judge Schweikert said.

        “It's important that we all get to know each other right away and build a certain level of trust and identify so everyone can open up and we can really get something done,” he said.

        “I hope that when we leave, there is a consensus among the participants in our program — not necessarily as to all the issues, but to the benefit of working together to resolve their difficulties in a peaceful fashion.”


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