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Our Global Network

ICJ Canada is an independent organization, but we are part of a strong global network of national sections and affiliated organizations of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists. There are now over 60 national ICJ sections and affiliated organizations.

ICJ was established in 1952, four years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the wake of the Nuremberg trials. Eminent jurists from 42 countries met to establish a non-governmental organization based on the conviction that justice and the law are two indispensable pillars of democracy.

The ICJ in Geneva has a long history of distinguished leadership. It is today governed by a Commission of 60 outstanding jurists of different legal traditions from around the world.

ICJ has consistently been at the leading edge of human rights advocacy and international legal development. For example:

  • The ICJ was instrumental in the drafting and adoption of the 1985 United Nations Basic Principles on Independence of the Judiciary, and the United Nations Declaration against Torture; and in achieving the International Criminal Court and the African Human Rights Court.
  • In 2006 the ICJ commissioned a Panel of Eminent Jurists to report on the subject of terrorism, counter-terrorism and human rights. Composed of legal and human rights experts, the Panel held hearings throughout the world (including in Canada). The Panel’s final report calls on the international community to reassert core values and principles of international law.
  • In 2008 at its World Congress in Geneva, the ICJ adopted a Plan of Action on upholding the Rule of Law and the Role of Judges and Lawyers in Time of Crisis for the ICJ worldwide network.

In addition, the ICJ sponsors fact-finding missions on human rights, particularly in relation to the harassment or persecution of lawyers and judges. It communicates its concerns to the relevant national authorities and the international community. ICJ press releases and statements act as constant denunciations and reminders of flagrant violations of human rights all over the world.

You can find out more about ICJ’s global activities on the ICJ Geneva website.