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International Programs Department hosts first “Lunch & Learn”: Law Enforcement in Kosovo, South Korea, and Palestine

The Wake Forest Law International Programs department held its first Lunch & Learn of the semester on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The International Programs Office schedules several “LL.M. Lunch and Learn” sessions throughout the year with the goal of sharing the varied legal experiences of the international LL.M. (Master of Laws) students. These sessions provide an opportunity for LL.M. students to talk about their home countries and to share their legal expertise and knowledge with fellow LL.M. and J.D. students, faculty and staff alike. “We are very excited about this program, it is great to have the opportunity to listen to our LLM students speaking from their own very significant legal and personal experiences. These students are really enriching our Wake Forest Law environment.” remarked Dean Schneider, Associate Dean for International Affairs.

This week’s LL.M. Lunch and Learn focused on law enforcement in three very distinct legal systems, Palestine, Kosovo and South Korea. Speaking about Palestine was Mr. Mohammed Ikhlawi, a law and politics teacher for new police officers and a ten-year veteran of the Palestinian police force. Joining him was Mr. Elez Blakaj and Mr.Kutjim Munishi, Prosecution Officers from Kosovo, and Mr. Heo Jun, a senior prosecutor with the Ministry of Justice, South Korea.

Mr. Mohammed Ikhlawi, a Palestine Rule of Law Fellow, opened the presentation by talking about the geography and history of the region and briefly discussing the peace process between Israel and Palestine. On discussing law enforcement in Palestine, he noted the difficulties in trying to police a region where they do not have full responsibility for security.

“Because our peace processes have encountered difficulties, the world recognition of Palestine has been conflicted, specifically following twenty years of seeking peace” stated Ikhlawi. He went on to emphasize the fact that “crime has no borders” and that the Palestinian and Israeli police must work together to ensure the well-being of their people.

Following Mr. Ikhlawi, Mr. Elez Blakaj, a Justice Abroad Scholar sponsored by the U. S. Embassy Pristina and the U.S. Dept of Justice, discussed the influence that the long tradition, culture and history has had on laws in Kosovo. He went on to explain just a few of the unique differences between the civil law system in Kosovo and the common law system of the U.S.

“We find many similarities in these two systems, especially in criminal procedure. However, we believe we would like to have the same kind of sentencing policy that you do in the United States” remarked Blakaj.

Kutjim Munishi, a fellow Justice Abroad Scholar went on to discuss the impact of corruption in Kosovo today. He described it as “the biggest disease” facing Kosovo since gaining independence and noted that “it is in every part of our lives”. He mentioned that although they still have many problems in their legal systems, “they are looking to see how the U.S. resists corruption and uses those practices ourselves”. Mr. Munishi went onto assert the need for Kosovo to gain an international presence, noting that “we are a new country and we want to create a new strategy to inform people about Kosovo”.

Following Munishi, Mr. Jun Heo presented on the Korean Legal system, specifically the investigative procedure of criminal cases in South Korea. Describing the procedures after a crime has been committed, he noted that “after a case is investigated it is sent to the prosecutor who decides how to deal with each case. The prosecutor returns to the police if they feel the case has a lack of evidence and then instruct s them on which direction they think the case should go”. Mr. Heo further expanded details of the Korean legal system, remarking how the police are required to abide by the opinion of the prosecutor on cases related to public security, murder and election fraud.

The next Lunch & Learn will take place on Tuesday, November 5th at 12:00 p.m, with the topic yet to be announced. Registration can be found on the Wake Forest School of Law website.