The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, was in charge of closing this edition of the World Law Congress and received from the hands of King Felipe VI, the World Peace & Liberty Award, granted by the World Jurist Association. He did so on behalf of Colombian society, recognized with this award for being the longest-lived democracy in the region, and which has an impact on the strengthening and promotion of freedom and the rule of law above the vicissitudes. Iván Duque assured that “Colombian democracy has been solid and will be solid because it has passed the most arduous tests, has faced civil wars, terrorism, drug trafficking, the vicissitudes of natural disasters and has had to undergo demanding tests, but we full of joy that it is one of the oldest in the entire continent”. Along these lines, he recognized that «democracy is a triumph for regulating human activities, renewing leadership and leaving decision-making free for the people.» For Duque, “it is a moral duty to raise one’s voice against the Maduro dictatorship, because keeping silence is being accomplices. Acting within the framework of legality, international law, denouncing this regime before the International Criminal Court is what our peoples expect of us. Extending a helping hand to those who want to have hope is a categorical imperative”. of international law, denouncing this regime before the International Criminal Court is what our peoples expect of us. Extending a helping hand to those who want to have hope is a categorical imperative”.
For his part, King Felipe VI, recipient of the World Peace & Liberty Award 2019, highlighted “Spain’s firm commitment to Colombia in its role as an Ibero-American strategic partner”, and recognized that “our government, our institutions, our cooperation and our The legal community will continue to bet on this country and its citizens”. Of the Colombian democracy, he said that «it has stood firm in the face of risks and will feel recognized, comforted and encouraged by this important distinction, because it is based on harmony, freedom and equality.» Adding that «the rule of law is not only a guarantee of freedom, but also an essential requirement to achieve economic and social development with stability and justice, because development must be built by seeking coexistence, guaranteeing security and favoring the well-being of all citizens».
Present at the award ceremony was the president of the World Jurist Association, Javier Cremades, who remarked that “Colombia has become the best country in the region, and it is one of the few stars that shine in the sky of freedom. Today Colombians are not forced to emigrate”. He also underlined that «they are a reference and model for those countries that want to establish the peace and freedom of their fellow citizens on the right».
The former president of the American Bar Association, Hilarie Bass, was in charge of reading the act of awarding the World Peace & Liberty Award; and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, praised Colombian democracy. The academic director of the World Law Congress and emeritus magistrate of the Constitutional Court of Spain, Manuel Aragón Reyes, gave voice to the reading of the Barranquilla 2021 declaration.
The closing ceremony also hosted the presentation of the World Jurist Association medals of honor which, on this occasion, were presented to Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles, Hilarie Bass, former president of the American Bar Association, Patricie Lee Refo, former president of the American Bar Association, to The World Justice Project, to the Constituents of the Political Constitution of Colombia 1991, to Cheol-Kyu Hwang, president of the International Association of Attorneys General, to José Igreja Matos, president of the Union Magistrates International, and Reginald Turner, President of the American Bar Association.
The Rule of Law Index was also presented by Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director of the World Justice Project.
Viviane Reding, Vice President of the World Law Foundation and former Vice President of the European Commission, read the act of awarding the World Peace & Liberty Award to be presented in 2022 to Angela Merkel, former Chancellor of Germany.
The 27th edition of the World Law Congress in figures
The World Law Congress Colombia 2021, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Constitution of Colombia and the 200 years of the Constitution of Cúcuta, brought together more than 2,500 attendees from more than 60 countries and has had a program featuring 52 round tables and more than 300 world-class speakers.
This edition will give way to the one to be held in Geneva (Switzerland) in 2023.