Vienna Multidisciplinary Conference on Advancing Global Justice to Unveil Rule of Law Index and Fund to Support Programs
VIENNA, AUSTRIA, July 2, 2008 – The World Justice Forum, a multidisciplinary conference that has brought together nearly 500 participants from 95 nations, will begin its formal conference sessions on July 3. The Forum is intended to develop collaborative solutions for advancing the rule of law to create communities of opportunity and equity. Speakers on Thursday will include Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, and Emil Constantinescu, former president of Romania, as well as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Anthony M. Kennedy.
In addition, William H. Neukom, president of the American Bar Association — a founding sponsor of the World Justice Project, which is hosting the Forum — will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Neukom will present remarks on the concept behind the Project, as well as introduce two critical elements of the World Justice Forum: the Rule of Law Index, and the Opportunity and Equity Fund.
The Index measures adherence to the rule of law in such areas as: respect for property rights, government officials’ accountability to the law, corruption, access to services and an impartial judiciary. Preliminary data from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, India, Nigeria, Spain, Sweden and the United States will be discussed during Thursday’s program. Additional experts on the Index will be available.
The Opportunity and Equity Fund will fund several of the projects developed during the Forum. The World Justice Project has held multidisciplinary outreach meetings on five continents leading up to the Forum with participants in the Accra, Ghana, meeting being invited to submit proposals for small projects involving multidisciplinary collaborations in their communities. About a dozen projects have been funded, and several of these will be showcased at the World Justice Forum. The new scholarship grant will be an outgrowth of that pilot.
The Forum will be held at the Austria Center in Vienna.
Among Thursday’s highlights of the conference:
Welcome Remarks and Keynote Address: Why the Rule of Law Matters 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Speakers: William H. Neukom, President, American Bar Association
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
Emil Constantinescu, former President of Romania
Press Conference with ABA President William H. Neukom 10:30
“Peace, Prosperity and the Rule of Law” 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Panelists: Graciela Dixon, President, International Association of Women Judges, Panama
Robert Badinter, Senator, Parliament of France
Stephen G. Breyer, Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
Salih Mahmoud Osman, winner of the 2007 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought; Member, Sudan National Assembly
Moderator: Beverly McLachlin, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada
“The Rule of Law and Poverty Reduction” 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.
Panelists: Ashfraf Ghani, former Finance Minister of Afghanistan
Anthony M. Kennedy, Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
Moderator: Claudia Dumas, Executive Director, World Justice Project
Topical Plenary Sessions 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Track One: Scholarship on Rule of Law Issues
Panelists: Hilario G. Davide Jr., former Chief Justice of the Philippines
James Heckman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, University of Chicago
Timur Kuran, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Margaret Levi, University of Washington, Seattle
Moderator: Robert L. Nelson, Director, American Bar Foundation
Track Two: Rule of Law Index
Panelists: Mark Agrast, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Juan Botero, Director, Rule of Law Index, World Justice Project
James Parsons, Director, Substance Use and Mental Health Program, Vera Institute of Justice, New York
Moderator: Dr. Samuel Muller, Director, Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law
[Note: Additional information on the Rule of Law Index may be found here: http://www.abanet.org/wjp/rolindex.html]
Track Four: Access to Justice Issues
Panelists: Cherie Booth Blair, Queens Counsel, London
Hannah Irfan, legal consultant, Lahore, Pakistan
Bernard Amyot, President, Canadian Bar Association
William K. Slate II, President, American Arbitration Assn., New York
David V. Williams, Professor, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Moderator: Yash Ghai, Chair, Constitutional Advisory Unit for Nepal, UN Development Programme
Track Six: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Rule of Law: The Example of Africa
Panelists: Kemi Asiwaju, regional representative, Altus Global Alliance/CLEEN Foundation, Abuja, Nigeria
Nemata Majeks-Walker, founding President, The 50/50 Group of Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Martin Manuhwa, President, Zimbabwe Institute of Civil Engineers, Harare, Zimbabwe
Onesmo Matei, country coordinator for Tanzania, The Global Challenge, Arusha, Tanzania
Moderator: Adama Dieng, Assistant Secretary-General and Registrar, UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania
The World Justice Project’s sponsors include the World Federation of Public Health Associations, People to People International, Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch, the Association of International Educators and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The American Bar Association, the world’s largest volunteer professional membership organization, is a founding member of the project.
With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.