Category: In the Spotlight

In the Spotlight

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

The right to vaccine of all humanity

By: Javier Cremades – President of the World Jurist Association and Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo Lawyers, and Diego García-Sayán –  former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2010-2014).

On January 30, 2020, the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom, declared a planetary public health emergency. From that moment on, it was clear – and official – that Covid-19 knew no borders and that its effects would not be limited to Wuhan or the Chinese giant.

Under a pandemic that has already caused more than 400,000 deaths, global hope relies on a vaccine accessible for all, regardless of nationality or income.

Currently, WHO, governments, private entities and pharmaceutical giants invest unprecedented amounts of money to develop a drug that ends with this pandemic once and for all; however, no drug have rescued as many lives as vaccines.

Currently, the main challenge is not lack of access to vaccines, treatments or cures for Covid-19, but the actual absence of them. According to experts, the vaccine will arrive throughout 2021. What will happen if that vaccine is exclusively patented by a third party?

As it is well known, one of the main functions of Industrial Property is to provide an incentive system that promotes innovation and ensures the journey of the product through the numerous stages, not without risks, ranging from invention to production and marketing. Patenting sets a right of ownership over an intangible good. Patent owner may be granted a monopoly by a government and, in the case of medicines, it can exceed 20 years.

During one of his latest statement, Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and top authority on industrial property issues, reminded us that “generally speaking, almost 70% of research and development funding is provided by the private sector, while about 30% is funded by States.”

Beyond whether this percentage division is applicable in the current research process to find a Covid-19 vaccine, for many the balance between the incentive to innovation and the granting of a monopoly to the inventor is what has facilitated the exponential growth of medicines for all kinds of ailments and diseases. That being the case, is this system mechanically applicable to the current pandemic? How to combine this right to intellectual property with the right to a vaccine for all mankind?

Just over a year ago, the World Trade Organization (WTO) commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Marrakesh Agreement, which marked the most drastic reform of the global trade system since World War II. Governments at the time were aware that the classic balances of patent ownership rights could not prevail in exceptional situations. Article 31 of this international agreement includes so-called compulsory licenses in cases of “national emergency” or “extreme urgency”. This legal figure, hardly applied in practice, is another expression of the traditional forced expropriation on account of public utility. This “expropriation” of a vaccine could be one of the alternatives governments could turn into to address the cry of billions of people who are also entitled to health and, in this case, to be saved from dying in the pandemic.

However, reducing incentives to researchers and investors, who are using vast human and financial resources to develop the longed-for vaccine, could delay the development and final commercialization of the vaccine. For this reason, compulsory licenses are subject to “adequate remuneration” to the Patent owner. This is precisely the position of countries such as Germany, Canada or Chile, which have already ordered the granting of forced licenses for all Covid-19 linked patents.

At the moment, the collaborative promotion and encouragement of research between the public and private sectors are key to achieving the awaited cure. However, the extreme severity of the situation will subsequently justify resorting to exceptional solutions within the framework of international Agreements; thus, the vaccine will be available to all humanity.

Save the date_Barcelona

World Law Congress. Online Opening Session. Barcelona 07 JUL 2020

The World Law Congress 2021 begins this coming July 7, with an innovative On-going format that will hold fifteen monthly Online Opening Sessions from different countries around the world, finalizing in Cartagena de Indias on November 17 and 18, 2021.

The Barcelona Bar Association, led by Dean Ma. Eugenia Gay, President of WJA Spain, will be hosting the Opening Session Barcelona, a hybrid event that will feature both face-to-face and online attendees, and panelists of the highest level. First, there will be a short institutional opening event, and then the development of the panel “Will the Rule of Law Survive in Europe?”, contextualized on the deterioration of the European unity, not only owing the Brexit, but also because of the reaction to Covid-19 related matters and the disputes between the constitutional courts.

REGISTRO GRATUITO Y ENLACE DE ACCESO
Se requiere registro por adelantado

Se puede seguir la sesión con el audio original a través del canal de Youtube del Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona, a través de este link:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoUrDebCVF2W-VZvGRBhiOg


Fecha:
07 JUL 2020

Hora:
10:00 Bogotá
11:00 Nueva York
17:00 Madrid
23:00 Hong Kong


La World Law Foundation nombra nuevos patronos

La World Law Foundation ha celebrado, de forma telemática, una nueva reunión del Patronato que ha contando con Javier Cremades, como presidente, y con Alfredo Dagnino como el secretario del Patronato.

En el encuentro virtual han participado Viviane Reding, vicepresidenta del Patronato de la World Law Foundation y miembro del Parlamento Europeo, Elisabeth Cassin, sobrina nieta de Rene Cassin, Hanna Stanisława Suchocka, primera ministra de Polonia,   en los 1992 y 1993, y miembro del Club de Madrid, Hilarie Bass, presidenta del Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion y ex presidenta de la American Bar Association, María Eugenia Gay Rosell, decana del Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona, Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot, presidente de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en México, Luis de Carlos, presidente de Uria Menéndez, Carlos Ayala, vicepresidente de la International Commission of Jurists, Juan Pablo GallegoCarlos de la Mata, abogado, James Black II, Councel Silverman Acampora, David Hatchwell y Ulises Fernández.

En la sesión también ha intervenido María Dolores de Cospedal, que fue nombrada Patrona de la Fundación, junto con Antonio Poncioni, asesor senior de Lazard, jefe de Asuntos Gubernamentales y Relaciones Externas, así como director para África, Emiratos Árabes Unidos y Portugal en Moshe Capital, Ana Pastor, vicepresidenta segunda del Congreso de los Diputados, Manuel Valls, ex primer ministro de Francia y actual concejal del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Santiago Solines y Andrés Cardó, presidente de Andrés Cardó & Asociados, miembro independiente del Board of Directors y del Audit Committee de VASTA y miembro independiente del Comité Operativo del Grupo El Comercio – Prensa & News, que ha sido consejero delegado de Prisa Radio y Cadena SER, director general internacional de Prisa Radio, director general de Operaciones de Prisa, miembro del Board of Directors del Grupo Santillana, director de Desarrollo Corporativo, Comercial y Marketing de Prisa, Country Manager de Prisa en Brasil, director general Grupo Santillana y director general de Editora Moderna en Brasil, además de director general de la Editorial Santillana en Bolivia.

Durante el encuentro, el presidente de la Fundación, Javier Cremades, ha hecho partícipe a todos los participantes de la entrega del World Peace & Liberty Award a la Magistrada de la Corte Suprema de EEUU, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, el pasado mes de febrero. También ha compartido con los participantes cómo se están desarrollando los preparativos para el próximo World Law Congress, al igual que les ha trasladado los avances para este congreso que se celebrará en noviembre de 2021 en Cartagena de Indias.

The World Jurist Association Awarded Press Freedom & Democracy

In Colombia, the World Jurist Association recognized media and journalists in a ceremony held on February 11, 2020 at the headquarters of the National Media Association “Asomedios” in Bogota. As the WJA, this association defends freedom of expression and promotes the development of the media sector in Colombia.

A total of four distinctions were awarded to “honor a well-done work in the defense of press freedom and democracy through truthful and proven information”, as Javier Cremades, president of the World Jurist Association, remarked. Laudations were in charge of relevant personalities, such as Juan Luis Cebrián, Founding Trustee of the World Law Foundation and Founder and Honorary President of El País (Spanish newspaper) and Fernando Carrillo Florez, Inspector General of Colombia, among others.

Roberto Pombo, director of the daily El Tiempo (Colombia), was awarded the Medal of Press Freedom, for his magnificent work in assuring fair information from different perspectives.

Three distinctions in the category of Defence of Democracy were awarded to newspapers in different countries: El Espectador (Colombia) received by Ana María Busquets, widow of Guillermo Cano; El Nacional (Venezuela) received by its Director Miguel Henrique Otero; and Cambio16 (Spain), received by its Editor Jorge Neri, also on behalf of its President Gorka Landaburu. All of them, first hand victims of terrorism, drug cartels and dictatorship.

This ceremony was celebrated in concordance with the values of the World Jurist Association, recognizing of the inherent dignity, equal rights and inalienability of humanity, as established in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Related links:

La World Law Foundation otorgó reconocimiento a Miguel Henrique Otero por su lucha a favor de la democracia en el país (El Nacional)

Reconocimiento internacional a trayectoria de periodistas (El Tiempo)

Jorge Neri recibió medalla por la lucha de Cambio16 en defensa de las democracias (Cambio16)

Family picture of the awarding ceremony at Asomedios
Fernando Carrillo Florez, Inspector General of Colombia
Jorge Neri, Roberto Pombo, Juan Luis Cebrián, Ana María Busquets de Cano, Miguel Henrique Otero & Fernando Carrillo Florez
Jorge Neri, Editor of Cambio 16, being impossed with the Defense of Democracy Medal by the Inspector General of Colombia, Fernando Carrillo Florez