“A WORLD RULED BY LAW, NOT FORCE” has been the World Jurist Association’s mission since its founding in 1963. The WJA was formed in response to an international outcry for a free and open forum where judges, lawyers, law professors and other professionals from around the world could work cooperatively to strengthen and expand the Rule of Law and its institutions throughout the world.
As a non-governmental organization with special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the WJA provides a unique forum for the international community. We have worked closely with governments, non-governmental organizations and international associations to foster a cooperative dialogue on world peace. Through our support, decision-makers from around the world work together as individuals, rather than representatives of a particular country, class or ideology.
With more than 55 years of accomplishments, the WJA is one of the few organizations working with such a broad range of stakeholders to promote the Rule of Law as the path towards world peace. Our members include sitting and retired Chief Justices, judges, government officials, law professors, lawyers, law students and law-related professionals. We have National Presidents in countries around the globe, and our Board of Governors represents every continent and aspect of the legal profession.
This is a brief look at the ways in which the WJA has sought to build the foundation for a system of laws that will ensure peace without the use of force. The WJA is committed to its continuation of ensuring peace through the Rule of Law for all generations.
Beginning with the first Congress on the Law of the World, the WJA has achieved many remarkable successes. The congresses continue to provide a forum where individuals from all nations and all areas of the legal profession can gather to exchange ideas and experiences. The results of this dialogue, expressed in the resolutions drafted by each Congress Resolutions Committee and approved by all delegates, is one of the most concrete and enduring accomplishments of the congresses.
Every two years, members of the legal profession are given the opportunity to call upon Heads of State and Governments to recognize these resolutions and act accordingly. The numerous messages received from these Heads of State and Governments, in support and encouragement of the congresses, indicate the value placed upon the resolutions that come out of the Biennial Congresses. By tradition, our Congresses have been Honorary Presided and addressed by the highest authority of the host country.
Since 1965, Charlie Rhyne, founding president of the World Peace Through Law Center, established as our association’s policy to recognize outstanding worldwide personalities of the legal and human rights-defense field with the WJA Awards. Prime Ministers, Presidents, Ministers, Magistrates, Prosecutors, Judges, Academics, Lawyers, Directors of international organizations and outstanding WJA Members who have widely contributed to the achievement of the organization’s goals, have been awarded by the nowadays World Jurist Association.
The establishment and celebration of World Law Day is another accomplishment of the WJA. President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States was the first Head of State to recognize the World Law Day. Chief Justice Kisaburo Yokota from Japan, the first Honorary World Chairman of World Law Day, remarked, “The lawyers of the World have marked another important milestone in their struggle toward the great goal of international peace.” Justice Yokota went on to say that the World Law Day calls upon the entire world to re-evaluate the place of law in the community of nations and to re-instill in our way of life the rule of law as an ultimate assurance of world peace.
The International Demonstration Trial, another tradition started by the WJA, began in 1971. During the demonstration, hypothetical cases are argued by lawyers from various countries before a panel of Chief Justices of the world. These Demonstration Trials have shown the possibility of replacing war with law, as the proper forum for decision making on international disputes. The Demonstration Trials give judges a time and place to express their great value to the peace process on a regular biennial basis.
CONGRESSES ON THE LAW OF THE WORLD
- 1963 Athens, Greece – Establishment of the World Peace Through Law Center, now known as the World Jurist Association
- 1965 Washington, DC, USA – The First Celebration of World Law Day
- 1967 Geneva, Switzerland – Computers and the Law
- 1969Bangkok, Thailand – Equal Human Rights for All the Peoples of the World
- 1971 Belgrade, Yugoslavia – Law, Peace, and the Environment
- 1973 Abidjan, Ivory Coast – Human Rights
- 1975 Washington, DC, USA – Women and the Law
- 1977 Manila, Philippines – Human Rights as Essential to Progress Toward World Peace Under the Rule of Law
- 1979 Madrid, Spain – Human Rights Progress in Furthering World Peace Through Law
- 1981 São Paolo, Brazil – The Rule of Law: A Concept of Universal Principles
- 1983 Cairo, Egypt – Universal Legal Principles as a Basis for World Peace
- 1985 West Berlin, Germany – Peace with Justice in the World Community
- 1987 Seoul, Korea – The Contributions of Law to World Peace
- 1990 Beijing, China – Law for World Peace and Development
- 1991 Barcelona, Spain – Law and Preservation of Peace
- 1993 Manila, Philippines – Law in a Changing World
- 1995 Montreal, Canada – Law in the Global Community
- 1997 Doha, Qatar – Law and Development in the Pursuit of Peace
- 1999 Budapest, Hungary & Vienna, Austria – World Peace in the 21st Century: Strengthening the Rule of Law in All Nations
- 2001 Dublin, Ireland & Belfast, Northern Ireland – Friendship, Cooperation and the Rule of Law: Building the Spirit of World Peace
- 2003 Sydney & Adelaide, Australia – World Peace through the Rule of Law: Celebrating 40 Years of the WJA
- 2005 Beijing & Shanghai, China – Rule of Law and Harmony of International Society
- 2009 Kiev, Ukraine – The Supremacy of Law as a Guarantee for the Protection of World Peace and Human Rights
- 2011 Prague, Czech – National Legal Cultures in a Globalized World
- 2017 Oranjestad, Aruba – Energy: Peace & Justice for All
- 2019 Madrid, Spain – Constitution, Democracy and Freedom: The Rule of Law, Guarantor of Freedom
- 2021 Barranquilla, Colombia – Rule of Law: Development for Nations
DEMONSTRATION TRIAL THEMES
- 1971 Liabilities of Governments Involved for Damages Caused by Crashed Space Vehicles
- 1973 Airplane Hijacking
- 1975 States Economically Damaging Other States
- 1977 Legal Rights to Results of Deep Sea Mining Under International Waters
- 1979 Legality of Unilateral Anti-Terrorist Rescue Operations
- 1981 International Damage Implications of a Nuclear Accident
- 1983 Murderous Export Case
- 1985 Law of the Sea
- 1987 Genetic Technology
- 1990 Title to Objects of Great Cultural Value Seized in War
- 1991 Discovery of Natural Resources by Satellite in Adjacent Nations
- 1993 Mass Expulsion of a Minority Group by Forced Deportation
- 1995 International Child Abduction
- 1997 Water in the Desert
- 1999 Capital Punishment
- 2001 International Environmental Contamination
- 2003 Weapons of Mass Destruction
- 2005 International Airborne Pollution
- 2009 Nuclear Energy & Nuclear Weapons
- 2011 International Drug Trafficking
HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT WHO HAVE ADDRESSED WJA CONGRESSES
Most of the Congresses on the Law of the World have had the distinct honor of being addressed by the Head of State or Government of the host country. Some of the most prominent inaugural addresses given include:
- 1963 His Majesty King Paul (Greece)
- 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson (USA)
- 1967 President Roger Bonvin (Switzerland)
- 1969 His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Thailand)
- 1971 President Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavia)
- 1973 President Felix Houphouet-Boigny (Ivory Coast)
- 1975 President Gerald R. Ford (USA)
- 1977 President Ferdinand E. Marcos (Philippines)
- 1979 His Majesty King Juan Carlos (Spain)
- 1981 President João Figueiredo (Brazil)
- 1983 President Hosni Mubarak (Egypt)
- 1985 President Richard von Weizsäcker (Germany)
- 1987 President Chun Doo Hwan (Korea)
- 1990 Premier Li Peng (China)
- 1991 The Hon. Sr. Agustí M. Bassols I Parés, Minister of Justice of Catalonia (Spain)
- 1993 President Fidel V. Ramos (Philippines)
- 1995 The Rt. Hon Roméo LeBlanc (Canada)
- 1997 Eng. Ahmed Mohammad Ali Al-Subaie, Minister of Electricity and Water (Qatar)
- 1999 President Árpád Göncz (Hungary) & H.E. Heinz Fischer, President of the Austrian National Assembly (Austria)
- 2001 The Hon. Ronan Keane, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Ireland)
- 2003 Major General Michael Jeffrey, AC, CVO, MC, Governor-General (Australia)
- 2005 President Hu Jintao (China)
- 2009 President Victor Yushchenko (Ukraine)
- 2011 Ms. Karolina Peake, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of the Legislative Counsel (Czech Republic)
- 2017 H.E. Alfonso Boekhoudt – Governor (Aruba)
- 2019 H.M. Felipe VI – King of Spain (Spain)
- 2021 Iván Duque Márquez (Colombia)
The Heads of State and Government have referred to the important role of the WJA in strengthening the rule of law in all nations through personal messages sent to our delegates during their work at the Congresses on the Law of the World.
In 1957, when the original concept for the World Jurist Association was envisioned, Sir Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom praised the program and its goal of strengthening international law and its institutions.
President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States praised the creation of the World Jurist Association and recognized the need for such an organization by stating, “The world no longer has a choice between force and law; if civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law.”
His Holiness Pope John Paul II placed himself firmly behind the WJA’s program in his Homily at each of the private audiences of the WJA membership in 1979, 1985, 1992, and 2004, attended by judges and lawyers throughout the world.
In June 1993, H.E. Archbishop Jean Louis Tauran, Secretary of State of the Holy See at the Vatican, signed an accord establishing permanent relations between the WJA and the Vatican.
Since its establishment, the WJA has hosted numerous conferences, specializing in a specific topic of interest to the legal professionals invited. Some of the most recent include:
- 1992 Jerusalem, Israel – International Agreements and the Middle East Peace Process
- 1993 Cairo, Egypt – Economic and Environmental Challenges Confronting the Mediterranean Region
- 1994 Washington, DC, USA – NAFTA and GATT
- 1994 Rome, Italy – The Family on the Eve of the Year 2000: Legal Problems
- 1996 Potsdam, Germany – Legal and Economic Conditions and Investment Opportunities in the New Länder
- 1997 Cape Town, South Africa – The Role of the Judiciary in a Changing Africa
- 1997 Washington, DC, USA – The Celebration of 50 Years of the International Court of Justice: The Role of Law and Justice
- 1998 Buenos Aires, Argentina & Caracas, Venezuela – Investment Opportunities in Energy Resources
- 1999 New Delhi, India – The Judiciary in Asia
- 2000 Havana, Cuba – International Trade and Investment in a Global Economy
- 2001 Warsaw, Poland – Immigration and the Environment
- 2002 Madrid, Spain – The International Threat of Terrorism
- 2002 Stuttgart, Germany – Constitutions and Mobility vs. the Environment
- 2004 Rome, Italy – Privatization, Banking, and Cross-Border Insolvency
- 2004 Kiev, Ukraine – Economic Development, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Democracy Building
- 2006 Edinburgh, Scotland – Terrorism and the Rule of Law
- 2007 Los Angeles, California – Worldwide Immigration and the Rule of Law
- 2007 Lisbon, Portugal – Climate Change and the International Legal Community’s Response
- 2008 Jerusalem, Israel – Terrorism’s Impact on Achieving Peace Through the Rule of Law
- 2009 Vienna, Austria – The Role of the Legal Profession in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation
- 2011 Grand Baie, Mauritius – International Arbitration and ADR: The Impact on the Rule of Law
- 2012 Washington, DC USA – Law and Technology: Innovation in the Digital Age
- 2013 Jerusalem & Tel-Aviv, Israel – Global Economy and the Rule of Law in a Changing World
- 2014 Shanghai, China – International Perspectives on Intellectual Property Protection
- 2015 Warsaw, Poland – Privatization, Banking and Cross-Border Insolvency
- 2016 Barcelona, Spain – The Internet: Challenges to Peace and Freedom
HIGHLIGHTS AND MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
- WHY AN INDIVIDUAL SHOULD JOIN THE WJA
The previously mentioned accomplishments are perhaps the most important reasons for an individual to join the WJA. By joining the WJA and participating in its congresses and conferences, an individual is proclaiming his or her support for world peace.
While the WJA and the world have progressed significantly in the past 40 years, there is much work to be done if we are to ensure a peaceful, stable, and rich life for all generations and all peoples. WJA members are recognized by world leaders as persons of great intellect and insight into the needs of both the legal and non-legal community. They are often the ones to whom these decision-makers turn to for advice on how the legal profession can further strengthen world peace.
The importance of coordinating the efforts of legal and non-legal professionals has been recognized in the creation of the World Business Associates. This branch of the WJA encourages individuals from other disciplines to take an active role in developing practical strategies for global cooperation.
The WJA, as a non-profit organization, depends on the support and participation of its members; without this, the work begun in 1963 could not continue its advances toward a world ruled by law, not force.
2. ADVANTAGES OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership entitles individuals to several benefits. Subscriptions to WJA publications and registration for events are substantially reduced for members. Advance registration opportunities allow members to secure their participation and attendance at each event before other legal professionals are invited. Members have full access to the resources and support of our headquarters office and the members of the Board. The WJA officers assist members with research projects, job searches, and international networking. Additionally, members are invited to submit articles of interest to the world community for publication by the WJA. Members of the WJA are also able to participate and deliver speeches at UN side events on behalf of this organization.
WJA active members are invited to participate in the elections of the Board of Governors and other official positions. Members of the WJA may nominate other members, run for positions themselves, and vote in these elections. Our Board of Governors is comprised of prominent jurists from around the world, and the opportunity to participate in this open, democratic process is one of the most significant advantages of the membership.
Several hundred work papers have been published and distributed over the past 40 years. Entire sets are available for your collection. Alternatively, individual papers may be ordered by author, title, or conference year and topic.
To receive a detailed membership application and further information on WJA activities, please contact the headquarters office.
World Jurist Association
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