2009 was a year of consolidation and transition for the ICJ. I accepted the position of Secretary-General at the end of the year and look forward to continuing the ICJ mission, advancing the rule of law and human rights. Together with the Commissioners, Honorary Members, staff, and the Network I have been saddened by the loss of a close friend and colleague, Nicholas Howen who died on 26th January 2010. Nick will be remembered as an outstanding human rights lawyer and the ICJ is proud to have had Nick as its Secretary General. His work and passion gave new life to the ICJ, laying the foundations of the successes of the ICJ today, many of which are presented throughout this report.
This annual report will present the year’s major highlights of the ICJ’s work, enhancing human rights standards and defending the rule of law. Many key events in 2009 have underscored the importance of the rule of law and human rights. These include: Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza strip; the suspension of Fiji’s Constitution and dismissal of all judges by President Josefa Iloilo, and the role of Honduras’Supreme Court in the arrest and subsequent expulsion of President Manuel Zelaya. We have also witnessed the conviction of the former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for his responsibility in ordering killings and “disappearances” by security forces. We have also seen in 2009 the persecution of ICJ Commissioner, Mr Muhannad Al-Hasani, for carrying out his professional duties as a lawyer. Despite advocacy from the ICJ and others, this lawyer and leading human rights defender was disbarred, imprisoned and faces criminal charges.
The ICJ has responded to these and many other challenges throughout the world. It has also pursued its thematic legal work and continued implementing human rights protection and accountability mechanisms through its work in the regions (Africa, Asia- Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa).
I extend my thanks to all of you – staff, Commissioners, Honorary Members, national sections, affiliates, donors and partners who have contributed to this work during 2009, as well as all those who continue their efforts to improve the rule of law and human rights around the world. I look forward to continuing this work together in 2010.
In the coming year, the ICJ will build on these achievements, will further consolidate its organizational structure, and will continue its work for the primacy, coherence and implementation of international law and human rights standards around the world.
ICJ annual report 2009-annual report-2010 (full text, PDF)