Global Legal Delegates visit the Supreme Court
By Anne Yeager| August 21, 2017
A pair of international legal delegates toured the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center as part of what's called the Columbus International Program's "Rule of Law."
Michel Ilunga, who has served 14 years as an appellate judge from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was taken aback by what he saw.
"The biggest surprise I saw is the dimension of the Supreme Court house compared to my country, "said Ilunga. "This is a huge, huge building and that's a surprise to me."
The "Rule of Law" program allows people like Ilunga two weeks to spend in Central Ohio, touring the Supreme Court, the state attorney general's office, the Honda complex in Marysville, and talking with corporate attorneys at Nationwide Insurance.
Their mission is promoting international understanding thorough intercultural exchange.
Vivian Sdrenia, an attorney from Greece, is working for a year at the Ohio State Bar Association.
"It's great," said Sdrenia. "I wanted to do legal work in a foreign environment and I'm really happy that I'm in the U.S. and getting this experience."
Of course, being an attorney in Greece or a judge in the Congo is different than it is here in the United States. For example, the Congo doesn't have a jury system. The judge makes the decisions and Ilunga has been doing so for well over a decade.
"It's the judge who is powerful. It's the judge who makes the decision. You have to refer to no one, "said Illunga.
And the biggest difference between the law in Greece and the United States?
"You can drive at the age of 16. I didn't know about that. I knew it from the movies but these are cultural differences," said Sdrenia.
In Greece, residents need to be 21 years old to drive a car.
When she wraps up her time in Columbus, she plans to head back to Greece and work as a diplomat.