Passion for Justice

Thai and Vietnamese Delegations Visit USF

The Thai delegation was comprised of 26 law students and professors from Assumption University. The visitors attended lectures delivered by Professors Dolores Donovan, Jesse Markham, and Joshua Rosenberg; visited the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where Hon. Thelton E. Henderson presented on the federal court system; and toured San Francisco and Sacramento.

Dr. Khuat Van Nga (second from left) speaks with USF students and faculty about judicial reform in Vietnam. The Vietnamese delegation included STAR Vietnam Director Dan Rathbun (far right).

"Assumption University's choice of USF as a model for international legal education is a testimony to our prominence in the field," Donovan said.

A delegation of officials from the Supreme People's Procuracy of Vietnam, headed by Deputy Supreme People's Procurator Khuat Van Nga, visited the law school on April 8 during a three-day trip to the Bay Area funded by STAR Vietnam, a United States Agency for International Development sponsored project directed by Dan Rathbun who is based in Hanoi and accompanied the delegation.

Vietnam is considering a number of judicial reforms, including the reorganization of the judicial system into regional courts, reform of the criminal procedure code, and extension of the present 5-year term for judges and prosecutors.

In a presentation to USF faculty and students, Nga said that there are six driving forces behind judicial reform in Vietnam, including the country's shift to a market economy; the change in political policy to a rule of law system; shortcomings in the judicial system, in particular criminal law procedures; the expansion of democracy and increased government expectations by the Vietnamese people; the necessity of a strong judicial system to combat transnational issues such as drug offenses and smuggling; and an open diplomatic policy as a member of United Nations and a country committed to international conventions.

"We were honored to have Dr. Nga and Dan Rathbun with us to further Vietnamese judicial reform efforts," Dean Jeffrey Brand said. "We are proud of our 15-year association with Vietnam and the multiple areas in which we have worked, including judicial decision-making, labor law, and now serious discussions about judicial reform."