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Sign the WJA Declaration on the Venezuelan Elections

The World Jurist Association presented an expert declaration written by more than 1,000 legal professionals from different countries denouncing that the December 6, 2020 parliamentary elections in Venezuela lack the necessary guarantees to be considered valid elections under the international law . According to this legal analysis, the elections, which have not been recognized by either the European Union or the Organization of American States, will be null and void.

(You may sign the Declaration HERE )

With this initiative, the WJA seeks to warn the world’s public opinion about Nicolas Maduro’s attempts to elect a new National Assembly through a call that does not meet the minimum democratic requirements. Today, after five years of disregard for the Assembly by an illegitimate executive, the elections convened will be held amidst evident signs of lack of transparency, and harassment towards the few unwelcomed candidates for the government. The signatories call attention to the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice, in contravention of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, appointed the five directors of the National Electoral Council, thereby permitting them to modify the electoral laws at their discretion.

The accusation raised by the WJA bears the support of jurists of outstanding prestige and international recognition such as Álvaro Rodríguez Bereijo, President Emeritus of the Spanish Constitutional Court, and writer of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; Marie-Aimeé Peyron, President of the Paris Bar Association (2017-2019); Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice (2010-2014); Peter N. C. Umeadi, Professor and Justice Emeritus of the Anambra State Court, Nigeria; David Mills, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School; Augusto Trujillo, President of the Colombian Academy of Jurisprudence; and Katharina Miller, President of the European European Women Lawyers Association, among others. 

In like manner, Johann Kriegler, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa until 2002, is a signatory to the document. Justice Kriegler was appointed in 1993 as Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first post-apartheid elections with real universal suffrage in his country. Nelson Mandela’s collaborator has stated, on the current Venezuelan process, that having seen how a dictatorship evolves towards democracy, today we are witnessing the steps taken by an old democracy towards the strengthening of a dictatorship. Kriegler is considered the world’s leading authority on electoral processes.

On the basis of the verified data and in the absence, in the upcoming Venezuelan elections, of the political and legal guarantees already outlined, which are necessary for an election to be regarded as free and democratic, the signatories of the Declaration hold that such elections are invalid and reject their celebration. Consequently, they hold that in order to guarantee the protection of human rights in the country, the legitimacy of the current Venezuelan National Assembly must be preserved until genuine free, inclusive and democratic elections are convened.

This declaration will be presented at the United Nations, the European Parliament and other International Institutions and Courts over the world to continue condemning this electoral fraud in Venezuela. Jurists from around the world are called to support the restoration of the Rule of Law in Venezuela. You may sign the Declaration HERE

READ THE WJA DECLARATION ON THE VENEZUELA ELECTIONS

To sign and support this Declaration CLICK HERE

LEA LA DECLARACIÓN DE LA WJA SOBRE LAS ELECCIONES VENEZUELA

Para firmar la Declaración CLIC HERE

Telework at the WLC Opening Session London

Inaugurated by the WJA President for UK, Christina Blacklaws, and Diego Solana, Coordinator of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, the fifth Opening Session, celebrated from London on December 14, brought together Íñigo Sagardoy, Michael Burd, Renate Hornung-Draus, Daniel Funes de Rioja and Mbhazima Shilowa to discuss about teleworking.

Under the name “New ways of working and the future of work“, this new panel of dicussion focused on how current work trends should be regulated, the key factors for their transformation and the role each stakeholder should play in this field.

“In terms of work, this pandemic has changed everything, everywhere,” said Christina Blacklaws, President of WJA UK, immediate past President of the Law Society of England & Wales and President of Lawtech UK, who recognized that “we are now at the best possible moment to develop technological innovations that will change the way we deliver our services”. Blacklaws also shared data from a British study that “shows that the Covid-19 has accelerated the digital transformation by 5.3 years,” so that “we all know more about technology now than we did eight months ago”.

We are at the best time to learn technological innovations that will change the way we work

The debate began with the moderation of Iñigo Sagardoy, co-organizer of the event, president of Sagardoy Abogados and professor of labor law at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, who introduced the speakers after analyzing that “coronavirus has accelerated the transformation of organizations and we are at a turning point from which there will be significant regulatory changes in the ways in which companies are organized.

This scenario is confirmed by Renate Hornung-Draus, regional vice-president of the International Organization of Employers for Europe and Central Asia, who assured that “although the measures taken in most western countries to contain the pandemic have accelerated the digital transformation, they have also shown some deficits in the digital infrastructure, as well as its limits”. She advocates for a hybrid model of work with physical presence in the offices, in order to create corporate culture, but always respecting individual freedom. In this matter, she pointed out the difference between teleworking and mobile working, assuring that Germany has legislation on the former: “teleworking refers to a person working from home, it is at a distance, but in a fixed workplace; and it implies that there has to be an agreement between employee and employer by which the rules are respected”.

Michael Burd, head of the employment division at Lewis Silkim (London) and an expert in telework regulation, examined how labor regulation has evolved over the years: “what we see is that legislation and regulation are lagging behind the reality of work”, and acknowledged that “the feeling I have is that it has only increased with the evolution of technology, which is increasingly rapid, and has become more intense with the changes in work practices that have forced us all to change our way of working”. For this reason, and in the event that a worker remotely provides services from another country different from that of the company, he called for “legislation that contemplates key points, such as where to pay taxes, health insurance conditions, social security…” and concluded by recognizing “that local labor legislation in some cases complicates solving the global nature of this type of work”.

With regard to the regulation and negotiation of conditions, Daniel Funes de Rioja, vice president of the International Labor Organization and president of the Argentine Business Confederation, said that “unions must adapt to new realities and contemplate the changes from the perspective of the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise, if they continue thinking in terms of the second or third, technology will evolve without them and a gap will emerge”.

On this matter, Mbhazima Shilowa, former Secretary General of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and former Prime Minister of the South African province of Gauteng, set the current situation as a starting point “to find in the upcoming years better ways to combine different aspects such as, for example, the penetration of the Internet in all places”.

Social distance and flexibility are required, but this will not be possible without quickly resolving the social difference“.

Among the changes brought about by Covid-19, there is a debate about the vaccine and how it can affect workers’ relationship with their company. Michael Burd highlighted whether employers can demand their employees to be vaccinated or terminate them for not doing so.

Medical data is considered sensitive information and this will lead to searching for a balance between privacy and security for everyone… This is about protecting health at a collective level“.

The Opening Session London was the fifth preliminary session to the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Colombian constitution. Through the projection of an institutional video, the president of the host country, Ivan Duque, has committed to “continue promoting the strengthening of the rule of law as fertile ground to allow growth and welfare, development and freedom of citizens”.

FULL SESSION: https://youtu.be/Y8xKC8Xd4X4

SUMMARY SESSION: https://youtu.be/naGKYUREj_k

The WJA at the UN conference of the states parties to the un convention against corruption

The World Jurist Association made a presentation at the United Nations Vienna, during the plenary session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on September 2-4, 2020. The conference was chaired by the Attorney General of the United Arab Emirates, Harib Saeed Al Amimi, and Gabriel Fernández Rojas, WJA Representative to the UN Vienna and Financial Coordinator of the World Law Congress, participated on behalf of the World Jurist Association.

During his speech, Mr. Fernández Rojas mentioned the commitment of WJA in the fight against corruption and assured that the rule of law is incompatible with corruption. He stressed that a rule of law capable of preventing corruption is needed, in order to guarantee human rights and freedom, as well as to promote cohesion between societies. Additionally, he pointed out that the balance of power must be optimized, ensuring the efficiency and neutrality of public administrations, as well as improving citizens’ trust in institutions. In conclusion, he recognized that in a global context, open to new challenges and opportunities, the fight against corruption is one of the most urgent ways to defend the rule of law and remarked that this will only be possible with a strong commitment from society.

On the occasion of this meeting, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) also met, and as NGO with special consultative status before this institution, the World Jurist Association participated in it.

In the framework of the different events in Vienna, the WJA future activities were promoted in one to one meetings, increasing its network within this key forum.

The most important meeting was limited to UN State Parties and accredited NGOs. During that event, participants shared the progress made by their country in the fight against corruption, in light of the upcoming General Assembly against Corruption (UNGAS) to be celebrated in June 2021. One of the issues that caught greatest attention was the initiative presented in 2019, coincidentally, by the Government of Colombia at the UN New York. Colombia proposed the creation of an international court specialized in fighting against corruption and transnational corruption, in order to overcome limitations such as those that became visible with the Odebrecht case, the existence of blatant money laundering issues from the highest governmental levels in some countries, and the impossibility of making justice owing lack of judicial independence.

COP25 in Madrid: Dialogues on Law and Climate Emergency

Law as a tool for citizens to fight against climate change

The World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation organized the ‘Dialogues on Law and Climate Emergency’ on the occasion of the 25º UN Climate Summit. On December 4 & 5, 2019, experts in environmental and energy law analyzed how law can serve society in its fight against climate change.

The first meeting was held at the Green Zone of the UN Climate Summit COP25 in IFEMA. It was led by Javier Cremades, president of the organizing institutions, who said that law is the instrument that society has to face the challenge of climate change. In this regard, Cremades affirmed that “without law we can make little progress and that is why we need the commitment of the whole society, both the fiscal effort and the sense of corporate responsibility, in order to direct the future towards an energy transition that leads us to clean and sustainable energies that make decarbonization a tangible goal”.

Marina Serrano, Of-Coursel of Pérez Llorca, also highlighted the role of jurists in this area. She assured that “they serve society and citizens and, therefore, the environment.” And, in the words of Javier De Cendra Larragán, Dean of IE Law School and Member of the Health and Safety Committee of the International Bar Association, ”climate change has unleashed a cultural debate that requires an adequate framework and regulatory stability for technological development ”.

For Pilar Navarro, partner of Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo Sevilla and former Secretary General of Environment and Climate Change of the Junta de Andalucía, the solution to this problem lies “in regulatory stability, in the multilateral investment court and the application of law global administrative ”. And Navarro hopes to reach an environmental pact “to ensure that the planet will be available and sustainable for the next generations”.  To achieve this, she pointed out that “digitalization and technology, combined with the law, will be the horse on which this new transition to a decarbonized and sustainable world is galloping.”

The second day of Dialogues on Law and Climate Emergency, which took place at the headquarters of the news magazine Cambio16, featured Javier Cremades as moderator of the discussion in which Carlos de Miguel, partner of the Environment Department of Uría Menéndez, pointed out the need to establish “a consensus of price and legal security signals”, in addition to “a greater involvement of the public”, since “there is citizen and business awareness, but perhaps it is lower by the public bodies”.

Isabel Coleto, Co-Founder of Talantia and Professor at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, analyzed the industrial situation with respect to pollution, and indicated that zero waste is possible in business facilities thanks to the investments that are being made, but has not forgotten about small and medium-sized businesses, “so important in Spain as they cannot keep up with the environmental requirements that in recent years have proliferated so much in our country and that imply some insecurity for the end that can wait for them”. And is that “SMEs can barely meet the requirements of the regulator and there is an inconsistency between regulation and industrial reality.”

World Law Congress Madrid 2019

The World Law Congress

On February 19 – 20, 2019, the World Jurist Association made Madrid the World Jurist Capital during its XXVI Biennial Congress at Teatro Real. Presided by Franklin Hoet-Linares for the period 2017-2019, the WJA organized the World Law Congress under a renovated format ideated by Javier Cremades-García, President of the Organizing Commission and WJA Vice-President for Europe. This edition gathered together different guilts within the legal profession, serving the WJA as umbrella organization for Human Rights, notaries, constitutionalists, registrars, and religious organizations, among others, to co-organize the World Law Congress (WLC).

The presentation of the WJA World Peace & Liberty Award to H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain, in presence of H.M. Queen Letizia of Spain and H.E. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal, represented one of the most iconic activities of the World Law Congress Madrid 2019.  On February 20, a 1750-pax plenary at the main room of Teatro Real recognized His Majesty for his unwavering commitment to the Rule of Law and his defense to Democracy and Freedom. During the Ceremony, congratulation videos sent by President of Colombia, H.E. Iván Duque, and former President of East Timor and Peace Nobel Prize Winner 1996, José Ramos Horta, were presented before His Majesty.

A total of 2,300 jurists and personalities from around the world attended the World Law Congress Madrid 2019 and its Side-Events. Nearly 230 speakers of the highest level participated during this event, most of them within the 21 panels carried out on February 19, in 7 simultaneous rooms at Teatro Real. The deliberations performed this day resulted in The Declation of Madrid 2019. Furthermore, during the event, the new logo of the World Jurist Association was presented, resulting in a totally innovative branding. 

The decision of holding the WJA XXVI Biennial Congress in Madrid was taken during the WJA Board meeting held on May 4, 2018 in Munich, Germany. The task was given to Dr. Javier Cremades García, President of Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo Lawyers, who presided the Congress with Mr. Javier Solana Madariaga, former Secretary General of OTAN. The coordination of the program was performed by the Director of the WLC and former President of the Constitutional Court of Spain, Dr. Manuel Aragón Reyes. An Organizing Commision of prominent jurists from Spain and other countries, alone with the Co-Organizing institutions, made possible the execution of a magnificent event that made history within the WJA and, furthermore, in Spain.

For Spain, the Congress and the recognition to the democratic institutions through HM the King represented a reason of great pride and transcendence, as well as a unique opportunity to support the evolution of Spanish democracy and its stability, in the framework of the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. The event had great media impacts, heading all Spanish newspapers and TV news programs, as well as different media throughout the world.

Additional to the main activities at Teatro Real, the Congress included a Side-Event with the Presidents of the European Constitutional Courts on February 18 at the Madrid Bar Association, the celebration of an Ecumenic Act at the Almudena Cathedral with leaders of the main religions of the world on February 19, and the celebration of a WJA General Assambly and the World Law Day at the Malaga Bar Association on February 21.

Finally, and following the WJA tradition, during the WJA General Assembly in Malaga, Dr. Javier Cremades García (Spain), President of the Organizing Commision of the World Law Congress and WJA Vice President for Europe, was designated by the Elections Committee as the new Worldwide President of the World Jurist Association for the period 2019-2021. Additionally, Hon. Jus. Peter Umeadi (Nigeria) was elected as President of the World Association of Judges, Prof. Jesús Becerra (Venezuela-Spain) as President of the World Association of Law Professors, Dr. Javier Lara (Spain), as President of the World Association of Lawyers, and Sven Kohlmier (Germany) as President of the Business Associates Center.

You may visit www.worldlawcongress.com for further information on this fantastic event

Arbitration Summit 2019 – Registrations Open

The World Jurist Association proudly invites you to the 7th Annual Arbitration & Investment Summit, Caribbean, Latin America & Other Emerging Markets 2019, to be held on January 25th, 2019, in Nassau, Bahamas.

The event is being organized by the WJA President for the Bahamas, Dr. Peter Maynard, who invites all WJA members to join the Conferences.

The Program is available HERE

Register now at www.maynardlaw.com

Further information, please contact info@maynardlaw.com