Thursday, 23 February 2012

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute publishes 2011 Annual Report

Today the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) released its 2011 Annual Report. The 52-page publication provides insight into the global activities of the IBAHRI, including: capacity building, fact-finding, trial observations, and training, as well as a number of advocacy initiatives and thematic programmes working towards the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights under a just rule of law and the independence of the judiciary across the globe.

Sternford Moyo, IBAHRI Co-Chair said, ‘2011 was another remarkable year for the IBAHRI. We have expanded both the scope and geographical reach of our projects and programmes. Our achievements have been made possible thanks to the hard work, dedication and support of our members, partners, funding bodies, staff and all those who have provided expertise and undertaken pro bono work on behalf of the IBAHRI.’

Highlights of the IBAHRI’s activities in 2011 include:

Middle East – During 2011, the year that democratic revolution spread across parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the IBAHRI undertook substantial work in this region. Including high-level fact-finding missions to Syria and Egypt. The subsequent mission reports, detailing the findings and recommendations of the IBAHRI delegation were widely disseminated and launched at high level panel discussions in London (page 15).

Asia – The IBAHRI Justice for Burma Campaign was launched in 2011 and aimed to galvanise support among the global legal profession for the establishment of a UN commission of inquiry into international crimes in Burma (page 22).

Europe – The IBAHRI published an extensive report on the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian billionaire and former CEO of Yukos Petroleum. The report follows the IBAHRI’s long-term observation of the courtroom proceedings, more than 20 months of evidence. The report concludes that the trial was not fair and criticises the lack of equality of arms and the absence of daily courtroom protocols (page 17).

Africa – In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the IBAHRI continues to support the Lubumbashi Bar Association as part of a long term capacity building programme working on the Bar’s legal education programme. In 2011 the IBAHRI legal specialist, based in Lubumbashi, also organised a series of workshops focussed on international law, transparency and corruption (page 13).

Americas –The IBAHRI has launched a major project in Brazil, aimed at combating torture. The project comprises the launch of a training manual for judges, prosecutors, lawyers and public defenders; the implementation of training sessions across six Brazilian states; and the development of legal education curricula for use by national justice institutions (page 21).

In addition to the above, the IBAHRI’s achievements of 2011 include:

The adoption of a resolution on the values pertaining to judicial election to international criminal courts and tribunals, by the IBAHRI Council (page 7);
The release of an inaugural handbook Human rights and parliaments: handbook for members and staff, in conjunction with The Westminster Consortium (page 18);
The launch of the IBAHRI Taskforce on Terrorism’s high level report, Terrorism and international law: accountability, remedies and reform (page 24);
The undertaking of fact-finding missions to Venezuela and Zimbabwe (page 15);
International criminal law training with the Kigali Bar Association, Rwanda (page 20);
Twinning programmes with the Iran Central Bar Association and Bar Council Malaysia (page 14).

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