The International Commission of Jurists: Advocates for Justice and Human Rights

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) was founded in 1952 to foster and strengthen national and international justice systems. Working across five continents, the ICJ is composed of 60 eminent judges and lawyers from all regions of the world and from all legal systems. The ICJ works to ensure that international law, and human rights and humanitarian law in particular, is employed for the protection of the most vulnerable through effective national and international procedures. The ICJ is also dedicated to

  • Securing the actualization of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights
  • Protecting the separation of powers
  • Ensuring the independence of the judiciary and legal branch

ED in Action

The ICJ initially went through the equivalency determination (ED) process with NGOsource in 2013 when one of its funders requested an ED. Since then, the initial funder and another one have requested the ICJ's ED nine more times. The funding that the ICJ received as a result of going through the ED process has allowed the organization to carry out a wide range of activities including, but not limited to, workshops, trainings, and documentation of human rights violations. More than 200 judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and human rights defenders participated in these activities. Not only did the activities help develop strong networks of practitioners in the field, but participants also reported increased knowledge in the subjects covered.

Training with judges on economic, social, and cultural rights in Uzbekistan

One of the ICJ's successful strategies has focused on its work structuring national and regional events on focused on the practice of legal procedures. Prosecutors, judges, and human rights defenders thus have the opportunity to openly discuss human rights concerns, like the necessity of transparency regarding a country's human rights records, specific to an individual country.

Central Asia is one of the regions where the ICJ has successfully increased the capacity of prosecutors to apply national and international law safeguards in transfers of national security suspects. For instance, the national and regional workshops, along with national advocacy conducted in Uzbekistan, have contributed to a major achievement related to the recent ratification of the Chisnau Convention by Uzbekistan. Under the Convention, authorities are prohibited from transferring indivdiuals if doing so risks the death penalty, torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Day after day, the ICJ utilizes its network of expertise to promote and protect human rights throughout the world through the rule of law. Undergoing the ED process enabled the ICJ to strengthen this work, and the organization looks forward to continuing to grow and build relationships with its U.S.-based donors.

Top photo:  ICJ's work with victims of gross human rights violations in Nepal

Images used with permission from the International Commission of Jurists © 2020.