A group of judges and government officials from Paraguay traveled to Miami Law last week to participate in the pilot international continuing legal education program, “Programa de Actualización Jurídica Internacional.”
Paraguayan judges and government officials
The program, in cooperation with the Beranger Consulting Group, was conducted entirely in Spanish, and provided participants the opportunity to learn and discuss the legal systems and practice between two countries in an continuously comparative approach.
“Discussing with other judges and attorneys about freedom of expression, independence of the judiciary, and international arbitration was very enriching,” said Cinthia Maria Garcete Urunada, a criminal law judge. “The program exceeded my expectations; I am sure that everything I learned and experienced will be helpful in my function as a judge in Paraguay.”
Experts such as Miami attorneys John Rooney, Richard Lorenzo, Tifany Compress, and Judges Adalberto Jordan and Samantha Ruiz joined Paula Arias, director of the International Moot Court Program, in discussions focusing on alternative dispute resolution, cybercrime/security and international human rights.
The five Paraguayan criminal law judges were joined by three government employees of PetroPar, the country’s electricity company, which included the company’s general counsel. The week included an evening reception with guests coming from Miami Law School and the Miami International Arbitration Society; a special dinner at the home of Coral Gables Mayor Raul Valdez; and a certificate ceremony at the conclusion of the program.
“Despite not being an attorney, each of the lectures, discussions and visits opened my eyes to new avenues to do my job,” said Norma Caballero de Romero, the director of Human Resources for PetroPar. “Every aspect of the program is going to contribute tremendously to my job in Paraguay.”
Participants examined cases and issues in an international context with prestigious local judges and experts in international legal practice In addition, there was opportunity for analysis and discussion as well as visits to local institutions and NGOs, such as Miami’s Federal Courthouse, Miami-Dade Country Commission on Human Rights, and Catholic Charities: Legal Services.
“This past week was a fabulous experience not only for the judges but for all involved in it,” Arias said. “We were able to integrate a diversity of topics, perspectives, and expertise; we talked about Freedom of Expression in the internet and social media area, comparing the U.S. framework with the InterAmerican Human Rights Systems. We also talked about cybercrimes from legal and technical perspectives, its challenges and current solutions like the Convention of Budapest. Most importantly, we debated about the role of the judiciary in a democracy and the importance of its independence.
“The program will continue to grow with the expectation that we can host not only professionals from Paraguay but those from other parts of Latin America in 2019,” she said.