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INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES TO JUSTICE
July 28, 2011

The focus of IBJ’s mission impresses me. The rights of an accused person, and the effective invocation of those rights by a defender on behalf of the accused, are so fundamental to a fair and just society. Yet, the ordinary citizen accused of a petty crime is so easily forgotten among the numerous social justice causes clamoring for society’s attention. IBJ does not forget.

IBJ’s practical, results-oriented approach also impresses me. IBJ works simultaneously with those who can lend legitimacy to its efforts – governments, bar associations, local officials – and with those who are on the frontlines of protecting criminal defense rights everyday – the legal aid and private bar defenders, of course, but also those with whom they interact, including police, prosecutors and judges. IBJ has a lofty vision of fair and equitable criminal justice systems, but its day-to-day work is in the trenches.

Finally, the audacious determination and undaunted dedication, not only of IBJ’s Founder and CEO Karen Tse, but also of the IBJ Staff, IBJ Fellows and IBJ JusticeMakers, is impressive beyond words. Nothing stops their efforts: not the pervasiveness of torture as a criminal investigation tool, not the prevalent political difficulties in the countries IBJ enters, not the enormity of the challenge. When Karen Tse says, “I believe it is possible to end torture in my lifetime,” how can we not help her and IBJ to do that?

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

… speaking with defenders who have had the benefit of IBJ training. The skills training certainly helps them, but more importantly, these defenders are emboldened by the training. IBJ gives them the courage needed for their difficult work by showing them that they are not alone, but part of a collegial and increasingly well-equipped criminal defense bar that has international support.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

... expand its resources for growing and developing fiscal support. The demand for IBJ's services seems to grow faster does the pool of funds to provide those services.

MY ROLE:
Board Member & I served as IBJ's Deputy Director in 2004 and 2005. I have served on IBJ's board since 2009.