July 31, 2018
On Friday, July 27, the Princeton, WV office of Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV) participated in hosting five judges from Mongolia. The judges’ visit came to West Virginia as part of the U.S. Congress-sponsored Open World Program on Judicial Rule of Law, which supports Congressional outreach and relationship development between the U.S. and its international counterparts.
The Princeton office served as a stop in West Virginia on the judges’ 8-day visit to the U.S., where they visited Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Virginia. Princeton Supervising Attorney Melissa Kahle and staff hosted the five visiting judges for a session on how children’s and human rights are safeguarded and provided legal support in West Virginia.
“The visit mainly consisted of educating the judges about the West Virginia Court System and our program,” says Kahle. Kahle and staff attorney Caitlin Flanagan-Morgan presented to the judges about the types of civil legal cases LAWV handles, as well as the various programs that fall under the LAWV umbrella.
Princeton staff member Jordan Smith said of the experience: “I had a wonderful time visiting with the Mongolian judges. These men and women are at the forefront of shaping their country’s judicial systems. We were honored to be a part of this meeting and explain the important work we do here at Legal Aid of West Virginia. No matter where home is, justice isn’t justice unless it’s for all.”
The five judges who participated in the visit were: Mr. Aldar Munkhbayar, chief judge at the First-Instance Criminal Court of Sukhbaatar District; Mr. Nyambazar Dashtsoodol, judge at the First-Instance Criminal Court of Sukhbaatar District; Ms. Mangilik Batbal, judge at the Inter-soum First Instance Civil Court in Bayan-Ulgii Province; Mr. Batbaatar Lhagvadulam, judge at the First-Instance Administrative Court in Dundgovi Province; and Ms. Munkhjargal Sosor, judge at the Administrative Court of Appeals. Ms. Nomintsetseg Munkhbayar of the U.S. Embassy, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia also joined, as well as Ms. Bulgan Khorloo, who served as interpreter for the group during their study tour.
During their visit, the judges stayed with a host family in each city they visited. In Princeton, Jan and Dave Farley hosted the delegates during their tour of multiple locations in West Virginia. The judges also visited Bluefield City Court, all Mercer County courts, and the ACLU-WV. Senators Capito and Manchin were scheduled to speak with the judges, and a meeting with Governor Justice was requested. The visitors program was designed by the Center for International Understanding Inc. in Princeton, WV.