Defending the Rule of Law: the ICJ celebrates 60 years of presence in Geneva

At an event at the city’s Palais Eynard, prominent ICJ Commissioners discussed the supremacy of the Rule of Law and also why it is important to be in Geneva. Watch the video.

The Executive Committee (ExCo), representing the whole Commission of Jurists, participated in the event.

Sam Zarifi, ICJ Secretary General, opened the event by reiterating the importance for the ICJ to be headquartered in Geneva, not only for the UN and international community but also for the city’s and canton’s legal and human rights community.

“It is absolutely clear that we live at a moment in the world when lawyers, judges, jurists are under attack and it is important for the legal community across the world, regardless of borders, regardless of languages, regardless of legal systems, to come together to defend the notion of the rule of law and defend the security and well-being of lawyers and jurists around the world.”

Carlos Ayala, ICJ’s Vice-President, said the ICJ was a unique organization working in the field of the Rule of Law, not as an isolated notion but within the framework of Human Rights and democracy.

He explained how the ICJ is structured and working around the world and insisted on the impact the ICJ is having through its activities.

He said that the organization’s legal outputs were used to have an impact on the overall human rights situations, cases, court decisions, and in training judges, lawyers, prosecutors and others.

Radmila Dragicevic-Dicic, also ICJ’s Vice-President, insisted on how it is important to share experiences about human rights issues and finding solutions to protect different rights.

She gave her personal example of being a judge in former Yugoslavia and Serbia to show how with tenacity and courage one can help establish an independent judiciary even in some of the hardest situations.

She testified how she was helped by the ICJ and Switzerland in her fight for justice.

“If you fight for independence of judges and lawyers in your country, you fight for judges and lawyers everywhere,” she added.

Dame Silvia Cartwright, ICJ Commissioner and ExCo member from New Zealand, was the first woman appointed to the High Court in New Zealand and she was also Governor General of New Zealand.

She said that she was privileged to come from a country that has always promoted and protected the Rule of Law but that unfortunately many recent examples showed that this endorsement could change overnight.

Very active in the fight for women’s rights she said how through her professional work she realized the terrible impact that the Khmer Rouge’s regime in Cambodia and civil war in Sri Lanka had on women.

“Generally speaking I’m quite pessimistic because I think we have reached another stage of the cycle that seems to occur every couple of generations where we are heading towards a more fascist world. So this is the time when human rights must be protected when we must fight to maintain the norms we have struggled for so long,” she said.

Watch the full event here:

60 ans de défense de l’Etat de Droit à Genève, débat à l’occasion du 60eme anniversaire du International Commission of Jurists60 years defending the Rule of Law in Geneva, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the ICJ.

Posted by Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos on Monday, October 22, 2018



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