On September 19th - September 24th, 2019, SACIV welcomed six international visitors from Uzbekistan for an IVLP single country project entitled “US Judicial System and Criminal Justice." This program was planned to provide midcareer Uzbek criminal and counterterrorism prosecutors insights into how counterterrorism is prosecuted in the United States. They also had a chance to learn about cross border policing and criminal investigations, as well as legal assistance to detained persons.
On Friday morning, our visitors met with the Fist Assistant City Attorney at the City’s Attorney Office where they had an open discussion about the legal system in the US. The participants learned about the mission and duties of the Office and the First Assistant City Attorney also explained the office’s relation to local law enforcement and the courts.
Later that day, our guests met with the representatives of Catholic Charities of San Antonio. During this meeting, our guests heard about their work towards the successful community integration and resettled refugees and their families in San Antonio who are primarily Muslims. The delegation was specifically interested in the legal aid and services this organization offers refugees and immigrants.
The weekend started well for our guests as they also had a chance to explore Missions and learn about the history of San Antonio. Later that evening, they went to the Tejas Rodeo, a hidden gem just outside San Antonio, which provided a true taste of Texas and it’s authentic Western-heritage.
On Monday morning, the delegation met with the representatives of the FBI Headquarters in San Antonio, where they learned about the agency and its function and work with other federal agencies. The participants learned much about the history and the reasoning behind the Bureau’s strategy to prevent the capablities of groups and individuals engaging in international and domestic terrorism and organized crime.
During lunch time, our group had a wonderful discussion with a former judge, where they were able to ask practical questions about the judicial system in the USA and work of judges in a local, state, or federal arenas.
That afternoon, our delegation met with students and representatives of the Warrior Defense Project at the St. Mary’s University School of Law. The meeting highlighted this new program at the University which, for example, provides representation to service members who have been wrongfully accused of violating orders or regulations. They also were able to have a discussion about how the legal research center is dedicated to the study of legal issues associated with both antiterrorism and counterterrorism. The delegation enjoyed the presentation and were grateful for students’ involvement in a productive two-way discussion.
On Tuesday morning, the visitors had enough time for one last meeting in San Antonio before they departed. They met with a representative of the Homeland Security Investigations, a critical investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and a vital US assest in combating criminal organizations illegally exploiting America’s travel, trade, financial and immigration systems. Participants heard about the agency’s investigations of cross-border criminal activities that concern national security along the South Texas border.
In the afternoon our guests left San Antonio and headed to the next stop of their three week visit to the States. Their visit to San Antonio highlighted the complex approach and crucial aspects of counterterrorism in the criminal justice sector, also taking into account human rights and other key considerations of importance to the security of the nation. Overall, our visitors were pleased with the opportunity to examine the US judicial system and made strong connections with their American counterparts for further discussions. #ExchangeMatters