Tag: World Jurist Association

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.

Opening Session Chile “Transnational Crime and Corruption: Protecting Judicial Independence”

The President of the Supreme Court of Chile, Guillermo Silva Gundelach, participated in the Opening Session Chile of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, titled ‘Transnational Crime and Corruption: Protecting Judicial Independence’. Silva Gundelach stressed the importance of discussing corruption and the protection of judicial crime, since “if we do not do so, we put our common future at risk”.

The meeting was chaired by Javier Cremades, president of the World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation, who welcomed the speakers, stressing “how important the independence of judges is, as well as the fight against crime and corruption”. Organizer Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2010-2014), introduced the topic and highlighted its importance since “the strengthening of organized crime networks has generated a new type of challenge and threat to the judicial independence of the powers”.

Leonor Etcheberry, Vice President of the Chilean Bar Association, has been in charge of moderating the debate in which Cheol-Kyu Hwang, President of the World Association of Prosecutors, has defended that “we are doing our best to apply the conventions against corruption” and has pointed out that international cooperation is fundamental, as well as ensuring that prosecutors’ offices work collaboratively beyond the traditional framework. During the discussion, the Attorney General of Spain, Dolores Delgado, bet on the functional and budgetary autonomy of the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office in order to confront corruption, which she considers “the dirty game of democracy” and highlighted the need to resort to cooperation as the tool to tackle impunity.

María Eugenia Gay, President of the WJA Spain and Dean of the Barcelona Bar Association, ratified the “firm commitment” of the group to make law and the laws the safeguard of citizens’ rights. As she highlighted, political parties and the different public powers must act with transparency and rigor in favor of society, so that the political formations are capable of redirecting the deviation of power and recovering the institutions they represent, the people, reinforcing the sovereignty of the states. The great challenges ahead demand the development of the structure in which dialogue is the maximum expression of democracy.

In this line, Héctor Humeres Noguer, President of the Chilean Bar Association, assured that “it is the responsibility of all the powers and ministries, in addition to the bar associations, to contribute to the prevention, eradication and information about the dangers of corruption and the forms in which it may appear”. For Humeres Noguer, “corruption can deteriorate the basis of a country causing severe damage to society, because the corruption that falls on the administration of justice affects the guarantee of human rights protection”.

Jorge Abbott Charme, National Prosecutor of Chile and President of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors, believes in the autonomy and independence of public prosecutors’ offices and promotes the use of international cooperation tools. During the debate, Luz Ibáñez, Judge of the International Criminal Court, recognized that “the problem of corruption and judicial independence does not respond to the individual conduct of judges, but rather it is a structural problem and therefore the response must be holistic and structural”.

In his intervention, José Igreja Matos, Vice President of the International Union of Judges, explained that it is always clear that the domestication of judges is a fundamental tool to promote impunity, and he highlighted the role of the multiple institutions that play a decisive role in the defense of the rule of law. “Difficult times demand a firm and courageous voice from international institutions”.

Roberta Solis, Judicial Integrity Team Leader from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, closed the debate, stressing that “support among judges is fundamental because it helps prevent judicial corruption.

This Opening Session was the second session prior to the World Congress of Law to be celebrated in Cartagena de Indias on November 17-18, 2021. The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, participated in this session via institutional video, in which he assured that his country “receives this congress as recognition to the efforts of the Colombian society to defend the rule of law as a guarantor of freedom, order, peace and harmony”.

Opening Session Barcelona: Will the Rule of Law Survive in Europe?

The World Law Congress started its 27th edition with an innovative format that includes the celebration of 14 online opening sessions, as prelude to the most important international legal event. These monthly opening sessions will take place from different cities around the world. The first one, «Will the Rule of Law Survive in Europe?», was organized by María Eugenia Gay, WJA President for Spain and Dean of the Barcelona Bar Association, institution that virtually hosted the event celebrated on July 7, 2020. The Panel followed the institutional ceremony (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJrToSZOrdo&t=136s) that inaugurated this On-Going Congress that will culminate with face-to-face panels in Cartagena de Indias, on November 17 and 18, 2021. 

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the World Law Foundation and former vice-president of the European Commission, chaired the debate. It focused on giving an answer to what can be done when national constitutions, European treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU are questioned. In this respect, Reding remarked that «even in a solid constitutional environment, the rule of law is not free from risk, (…) in Europe we have to stand up to protect our values». She also expressed concern about «the challenges to the rule of law in some European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, where they are dismantling fundamental aspects such as the independence of judges and the freedom of expression of the media».

Rainer Arnold, member of the Advisory Council of the World Law Foundation and professor at the University of Regensburg, stressed that «the rule of law is anthropocentric; it recognizes and emphasizes that the ultimate purpose of law and constitutional law is to protect individuals, taking into account that the constitution must be based on the recognition of human dignity as a supreme value and its twin principle, which is freedom». He added that «the rule of law is always linked to democracy as an essential element of people’s freedom, to jointly determine policy, decisions affecting our lives and destinies through daily participation in politics». 

François Biltgen, judge of the European Court of Justice and Luxembourgish former politician who served in different ministries, defined the European Union as «founded on the values of democracy, the rule of law, freedom, human dignity and respect for human rights, including those of minorities». He further recognized that, when conflicts occur, «the primacy is of the European Union, both in the application and in the interpretation of the law, which improves unity by giving more legal stability and strengthening the union of member states».

André Alen, President of the Constitutional Court of Belgium, said that the Court of Justice «is the guardian of the European treaties» and added that there is a significant interaction between courts; «European courts and national constitutional courts are not opponents, but should be considered as natural allies when it comes to protecting fundamental rights». Despite this, he stressed that the relationship between the Court of Justice and the constitutional courts is not free of friction and, although they are limited, priority should always be given to the one that protects rights the most». 

Polish Prime Minister (1992-1993) Hanna Suchocka, also Founding Trustee of the World Law Foundation, stressed the necessity to «deepen and discuss the relationship between EU legislation, national legislations and, especially, the relationship between two institutions such as the European Court of Justice and national courts». She said that «we need a more in-depth discussion of this issue because otherwise it could lead to a reduction in the standards of the European rule of law». 

The panel was closed by Marie-Aimée Peyron, dean of the Paris Bar Association (2017-2019), who criticized that «when a political power wants to attack democracy or the rule of law, above all, it first attacks lawyers, journalists or judges, among others, and we know, unfortunately, that this does not only happen outside Europe, but also in some European countries».

The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, opened the World Law Congress 2021

The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, chaired the online opening ceremony of the 27th edition of the World Law Congress, organized by the World Law Foundation and the World Jurist Association. He participated through an institutional video in which he acknowledged that “it is an honor for Colombians to host this congress in recognition for the efforts of the Colombian society to defend the Rule of Law as a guarantor of freedom, order, peace and harmony, precisely as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Colombian Constitution of 1991, and the bicentennial of the promulgation of the Constitution of Cucuta”.

Duque underlined the relevance of the World Law Congress and shoed the importance of “strengthening these valuable dialogues and reflections”, as well as applauding the “innovative” design of this on-going congress that will be carried out through fourteen Opening Sessions “aiming to promoting the strength of the Rule of Law, as fertile ground to allow growth and well-being, development and freedom for our citizens”.

Looking ahead to November 17 and 18, 2021, the date on which the congress will be held in Colombia, the president has sent “my most sincere welcome to our country, where we will continue working to build a better future for all, based on the strength and guarantees of the Rule of Law.

The Colombian Minister of Justice and Law, Margarita Cabello, also took part in the presentation of WLC 2021 and coincided with the President of her country in recognizing the enthusiasm of hosting the World Law Congress: “It is a tribute and recognition of the effort that Colombia and we Colombians are making in the struggle to strengthen the rule of law as a guarantee of freedom, peace, order and democracy”. His counterpart in Spain, the Minister of Justice Juan Carlos Campo, recognized that “we must endeavor to organize seminars as essential as this one, creating an extensive network of jurists who contribute to strengthening the separation of powers, judicial independence, the defense of human rights, pluralism, equality and freedom at all costs”.

In view of these words, Javier Cremades, President of the World Law Foundation and the World Jurist Association, reinforces that this congress, in its entirety, “wants to be recognition by the international legal community of the commitment of Colombian society to build and consolidate a society of opportunities, freer and fairer for all”.

The President of the WJA Spain and Dean of the Barcelona Bar Association, Mª Eugenia Gay, who hosted the opening ceremony, stressed that “the latest challenges that have arisen have shown the importance of countries working together, because there are problems that go beyond borders and need the commitment of governments and civil society”. As Manuel Aragón, academic director of the WLC and emeritus judge of the Spanish Constitutional Court, said, “We can only come out of this crisis if we, jurists, do not forget that the Rule of Law is a demand that we can never renounce to”.

Will the rule of law survive in Europe?

The 27th World Congress of Law has launched a new format in which 14 online sessions will be held as prelude to the most important international legal event. The first of these, under the name “Will the Rule of Law survive in Europe?” was moderated by Viviane Reding, Vice President of the World Law Foundation and former vice-president of the European Commission. Other speakers included Hanna Suchoka, Founding Trustee of the World Law Foundation and prime minister of Poland (1992-1993), François Biltgen, judge of the European Court of Justice and minister for various portfolios, Rainer Arnold, member of the Advisory Council of the World Law Foundation and professor at the University of Regensburg, Marie-Aimée Peyron, Dean of the Paris Bar Association (2017-2019) and Andre Alen, President of the Belgian Constitutional Court.

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.

Colombian President, Iván Duque, receives representatives of the World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation

Representatives of the World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation presented the World Law Congress before the President of Colombia, Iván Duque.  The upcoming Congress will be celebrated in Bogota and Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on February 8-10, 2021.

The reception took place at the `Palacio de Nariño´ and was also attended by the Minister of Justice and Law of Colombia, Margarita Cabello Blanco, the Inspector General of Colombia, Fernando Carrillo Flórez, Juan Luis Cebrián, Founding Trustee of the World Law Foundation and President of Honor of El País of Spain, Martín Acero,  Managing Partner of PPU,  university authorities and other notable personalities.

In relation to the next edition of the World Law Congress that will place Colombia, President Iván Duque, pointed out that its celebration is a great recognition to the effort of all Colombians  defending the Rule of Law as a guarantor of freedom, order, peace and concord among themselves. Furthermore, Javier Cremades, president of the World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation, described this congress as a “declaration of the international legal community to the commitment that the Colombian society has with the defense and strengthening of the Rule of Law and its institutions, in opposition to violence, as well as its effort to create a society of opportunities, freer and more just for all”.

During the World Law Congress 2021, the World Peace & Liberty Award will be presented to a distinguished personality. This award has been previously received by international jurists committed with the defense of the Rule of Law, such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, René Cassin, King Philip VI of Spain,  and, recently, the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

President Duque seeing a replica of the World Peace & Liberty Award presented to Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg on February 07, 2020 in Washington DC
Representatives of the World Jurist Association & World Law Foundation with President Ivan Duque
Meeting at Palacio de Nariño
Meeting at Palacio de Nariño
WJA & WLF President, Javier Cremades, & President of Colombia, Iván Duque
Juan Luis Cebrián, Founding Trustee of the World Law Foundation, greeting President of Colombia, Iván Duque
Diego Solana, WJA member and Program Coordinator of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, greeting President of Colombia, Iván Duque
Gabriel Fernández Rojas, WJA member and General Coordinator of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, greeting President of Colombia, Iván Duque

Diego Solana & Iván Duque
Javier Cremades, Juan Luis Cebrián & Iván Duque