The Congolese Delegation Visits the PAC Atlanta Office

On April 6, 2007 , David Fowler and Lalaine Briones met with four legal professionals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Mrs. Vicky Muanji Kabiku, Magistrate; Mrs. Marie Tshibanda Kalenda, Magistrate; Mr. Victor Yenyi Olungu, First Assistant Public Prosecutor and Chief of Staff, Minister of Justice; and Mr. Jules Oyumbu Wa Oyumbu, President of the Trial of Peace. Having recently installed a democratically elected president and national and provincial assemblies, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the process of reforming its judiciary.

The country's 2006 Constitution calls for an independent judiciary, and the government has already adopted its legal framework. To foster the necessary changes, officials will need to adopt additional legal reforms, develop internal policies and prioritize budgets, increase public awareness of laws and legal services, train staff and build infrastructure. With a task of such great enormity before them, the Congolese delegation was here to familiarize themselves with the principles of judicial independence, the federal court system, and the structure of state and municipal courts. In addition, they sought to learn about the management and functions of agencies whose purpose is to provide support and training to prosecutors.

During the Congolese delegation's twenty-one day visit, they also had an opportunity to meet with Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard; Mr. John Grantham, Georgia Justice Project; Fulton County Superior Court Judges; and Judge Belinda Edwards, Fulton County Juvenile Court . We were extremely honored to have such distinguished guests, and flattered that they hoped to model their judicial system after our own.