International Bridges to Justice

SUMMARY: International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), founded by attorney Karen Tse 17 years ago, is a unique organization working to bolster fair, professional criminal justice systems around the world. IBJ seeks to end the torture and abuse of detainees by training attorneys and legal officials in legal best practices, and by creating a global legal community that can be supportive and protective of lawyers working in difficult contexts. A legal system that respects human rights norms is one of the defining hallmarks of a civilized society. That ideal is rarely achieved, and egregious rights abuses have been on the rise globally in recent years. Without a credible legal system, there are limits to a society’s socio-economic and cultural development. IBJ works with governments and existing legal systems in order to train legal communities to respect the laws that are on their own books, and to build the functionality of their legal systems. It has trained over 20,000 lawyers at live events and over 2 million using innovative online e-learning tools in multiple languages. While groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch do the invaluable work of applying outside pressure, IBJ works on the “inside” to reinforce credible legal infrastructures, building relationships with local attorneys, national bar associations and government officials, and holding workshops and multi-stakeholder roundtables to work toward correcting systemic problems.

PROBLEM SPACE: “Every day in countries throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of citizens are arbitrarily detained and denied access to counsel. In recent years, many countries have increasingly demonstrated their commitment to improving their legal systems by signing international conventions and implementing domestic laws to safeguard citizensäó» rights. Unfortunately, many of the new laws respecting the rights of the accused are not enforced due to a lack of trained lawyers, awareness and resources. Governments have signed on to collaborate with civil society and now we are presented with an opportunity to act and safeguard due process rights for all.

While the problem is widespread, it is solvable within our lifetime. The solution is simple: early access to competent legal representation. IBJ ensures that lawyers have the skills, training and support to be effective, leading a global community towards institutionalising defender standards worldwide. Over 15 years we have trained over 20,000 lawyers at live events but we have trained more than 2 million using online e-Learning tools. Our experience shows vast potential for technology and online connectivity, supercharging our work to implement Access to Justice.”

SOLUTION: “Over 15 years, IBJäó»s strategy has been to address this issue through the creation of a collaborative platform. On a larger scale, IBJ has been creating a space and putting together a structure so that justice stakeholders can come together and collaborate. Now, capitalizing on the increasing role of technology for international development, IBJ is launching a Justice Technology Hub. The Hub is our innovative solution for bringing together disparate groups of stakeholders to realize and magnify their underutilized potential. One critical element of the Hub is to bring legal minds together for good; individually, IBJ JusticeMakers Fellows, bar associations, government ministries and law firms are limited in the scope and range of collaboration available to them, hampering their potential to create impact. With IBJäó»s leadership and through the Justice Technology Hub, stakeholders will come together to discover, adapt and re-use solutions.

The hub will connect, train and support public-defenders in developing countries by organizing live regional and in-country training events, creating defender training resource manuals, publishing online webinar sessions and developing in-depth country specific e-Learning content. We envision Buckminster Fuller as a catalyst for the e-Learning content development element of the overall Justice Technology Hub.

IBJ has developed wide reaching relationships with law firms, governments and lawyers already forming the basis for a strong Hub network. With a recently signed MOU with the ACP Group, 78 countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions are ready to engages as part of the IBJ Justice Technology Hub.

To achieve the complex technical requirements of creating a global hub, IBJ will be harnessing a technology platform custom built by Sphaera. With technology we can create a live collaborative network that discovers, adapts and reuses solutions on a global scale, strengthening links between legal systems and building support networks for humanitarian defenders.”

CONTACT: [email protected]