International Commission of Jurists

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Group.png International Commission of Jurists   Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
International Commission of Jurists.jpg
Formation1952
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Sponsored byNorway/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust, The Ford Foundation, UK/FCO, US/Department of State
Membership• Carlos Ayala
• Radmila Dragicevic-Dicic
• Nicolas Bratza
• Silvia Cartwright
• Roberta Clarke
• Shawan Jabarin
• Hina Jilani
• Sanji Monageng
• Belisário dos Santos Júnior

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is an international human rights non-governmental organization. It was created at the beginning of the Cold War by elite lawyers connected to the Council on Foreign Relations[1] and as CIA whistleblower Philip Agee exposed, "set up and controlled by the CIA for propaganda operations"[2]. According to the ICJ, it took steps to stop CIA support in 1967, after a period of reform under Secretary General Seán MacBride, and thanks to Ford Foundation funding.

Organization

The Commission is supported by an International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland, and staffed by lawyers drawn from a wide range of jurisdictions and legal traditions. The Secretariat and the Commission undertake advocacy and policy work aimed at strengthening the role of lawyers and judges in protecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law.

In addition, the ICJ has national sections and affiliates in over 70 countries. Given the legal focus of the ICJ's work, membership of these sections is predominantly drawn from the legal profession.

History

The impetus for the launch of ICJ and its predecessor the The American Fund for Free Jurists was a wish to launch a counterattack against a rival organization, the International Association of Democratic Jurists (IADJ), which was launched in 1946 by leftist French lawyers who had been connected to the Resistance. In the name of legal principles, the IADJ directly attacked McCarthyism and supported the defense of the Rosenbergs.

Recognizing the moral vulnerability of the United states, a small group of political lawyers – including Allen Dulles, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and deputy director of the CIA, and John J. McCloy, then High Commissioner for Germany and later called the «chairman of the establishment» - decided to engage the battle on the terrain of law. This founding group worried that pro-Soviet groups such as the IADJ had "stolen the great words – Peace, Freedom, Justice". The objective of the U.S. counterparts was to create international organizations, financed through secret funds supplied by the CIA, that would "mobilize the forces" of the free world.

The strategy of founders was in their own overly elitist image: The American Fund for Free Jurists directors favored the Council on Foreign Relations approach – the organization of a highly exclusive elite, selected and governed by a small inner circle.[3]

The committee selected only members with high standing and considerable experience in public life – cabinet ministers, parliamentary deputies, appeal court judges. Elite status would give access to national officials as well as to international organizations. A further benefit of this strategy was that the multinational ICJ would inspire trust by the eminence of its members.

At the top of this hierarchical organization, the ICJ represented a kind of high international court. It authenticated the criticisms made by lawyers expelled from communist countries and rejected the claim of the new communist regimes to the great universal principles of Western law. These judgements were used by the media or diffused through sympathizers of the national sections.

In April 2013, the ICJ was presented with the Light of Truth Award by the Dalai Lama and the International Campaign for Tibet. The award is presented to organisations who have made outstanding contributions to the Tibetan cause[4].

Ties to the CIA

The CIA whistleblower Philip Agee wrote of his experiences with the ICJ.

 The Agency saw the ICJ as an organization which it hoped would produce prestigious propaganda of the kind wanted on such issues as violations of human rights in the communist bloc. Reports on other areas like South Africa would, so far as the CIA was concerned, merely lend respectability to this object.
 The CIA's involvement with the organizations whose names follow was generally effected through key leaders of the organization or through other organizations controlled or influenced by the Agency. Thus only a very few members or leaders (sometimes none) of these organizations actually knew of their connection with the Agency.
 For example, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has stated that, in 1967, on becoming aware of the ultimate source of some of its funding it took steps to insure that no further support from the Agency was accepted.

 

Events Sponsored

EventDescription
Norway/Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Open Society FoundationsA NGO operating in more countries than McDonald's. It has the tendency to support politicians (at times through astroturfing) and activists that get branded as "extreme left" as its founder is billionaire and bane of the pound George Soros. This polarizing perspective causes the abnormal influence of the OSF to go somewhat unanswered.
Sigrid Rausing Trust
The Ford Foundation
UK/FCOThe UK government department dealing with foreign policy.
US/Department of StateSet up in 1789, the US State Department is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries.

 

A document sourced from International Commission of Jurists

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateDescription
File:ICJ report 16-2-09.pdfreport"War on Terror"
Civil Liberties
Human rights
2009This report of the Eminent Jurists Panel, based on one a comprehensive surveys on counter-terrorism and human rights, illustrates how 9-11 has influenced the rollback of civil liberties.
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References

  1. Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth, The Internationalization of Palace Wars p62-63
  2. Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, Allen Lane, 1975, p 611.
  3. Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth, The Internationalization of Palace Wars p62-63
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20130512170704/http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-press-releases/ict-light-of-truth-award-ceremony-brings-together-eminent-individuals