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Maia Jaliashvili and Eduardo Muchado on Studying Domestic Violence Internationally

By ublaw

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Welcome to UBLaw Conversations, a production of University at Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York. Today is December 16, 2007, and I'm Jim Milles, Professor of Law and Director of the Law Library.
Our guests today are Maia Jaliashvili and Eduardo Muchado. Maia is a lawyer and activist from the Republic of Georgia, and Eduardo is a prosecutor from Brazil. Both of them have spent the last semester in Buffalo as the first participants in the new University at Buffalo Law School international program intended to
develop expertise in identifying, preventing and prosecuting domestic violence. More information on Ms. Jaliashvili, Mr. Muchado, and the program is available here. They are interviewed here by UB Clinical Law Professor Suzanne Tomkins.

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Jaliashvili works on domestic violence issues for the Georgian Young Lawyers? Association, founded in 1994. With 600 members, it advocates for the rule of law and against human rights abuses, and provides free legal services to needy persons in Georgia. It also hopes to establish a law school in the former Soviet republic.

Jaliashvili helped to create a shelter there ? the only one so far. She also works as a consultant on human trafficking, representing both victims of domestic violence and victims of trafficking.

?Domestic violence law is really new in our country, only about one year old,? she says. ?The experience of people in our country with this is not very high. I am trying to get as much information as I can, to use for my country.?

Her organization advises the Georgian government on the drafting of laws, and Jaliashvili said what she has learned at UB Law will help her to recommend how to address shortcomings in the current domestic violence law. ?As the law gets older, you understand where the gaps are,? she says. ?As soon as I go back home, I know what I have to offer the government.?

Muchado works as a prosecutor ? a kind of public advocate ? in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil. He said his government sent two prosecutors abroad for training ? one to Italy to study organized crime, and himself to Buffalo. The Institute of Brazilian-American scholars, he says, ?pointed me to UB as a good option.?

Now, he said, is an opportune time for his training. ?Something is starting to happen in the domestic violence area in Brazil,? he says. ?The government is so excited about this that we received two prosecutors this month in order to build a bridge to UB. We just had the first public prosecution office open in Brazil to take care of domestic violence cases? ? an office like an American district attorney?s office.

Prosecutors, he said, are in a position to effect real change. ?We can sue the government in order to really pursue changes in many areas,? Muchado says. ?That is our major job today, to sue the government to make sure human rights are working. For example, we want to create some shelters, and we can sue the government in order to oblige the government to make these shelters.

?We are pretty naÔve about domestic violence in Brazil,? he says. ?We have treated domestic violence like an anger management program. That is not working. We are spending money on these kinds of programs, and we have to change our focus so we focus more on the criminal act.?

Full post as published by UBLaw on December 16, 2007 (boomark / email).

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