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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

International Bridges To Justice

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Crime & Law, International, Legal Services

Mission: International bridges to justice (ibj) is dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries. Ibj works to guarantee everyone the right to competent legal representation, protection from cruel and unusual punishment and the right to a fair trial.

Programs: The ibj china defender program has been one of the most successful and long running programs the organization has undertaken. Since the beginning of our partnership with the national legal aid of china (nlac) in 2001, ibj has made a significant impact on the conditions of public defense in china and has contributed to a nationwide transformation of the criminal justice system, especially in the area of juvenile justice. Ibj has trained approximately 2,000 police officers in modern investigative techniques to discourage the use of torture to coerce confessions. Also, every december 4th, the anniversary of china's adoption of its constitution in 1982, ibj conducts an extensive campaign throughout the country to educate citizens about their legal rights in the case of arrest.

singapore- the singapore justice training centre continues to progress as the first regional hub of ibj. It conducted the legal aid systems training for myanmar and the concurrent regional legal aid forum for 17 senior government officials from the union attorney-general's office, supreme court of the union, myanmar police force and lawyers from the myanmar legal aid network. The sessions for skills training and capacity building proved to be a unique platform for meaningful engagement between government officials and young lawyers where open discussion and shared learning experience were realized. Their other achievement is it launch of 50 e-learning modules. The modules are specific to seven asean countries, namely cambodia, indonesia, laos, myanmar, the phillipines, thailand, and vietnam, as well as india. The topics covered by the modules include the rights of the accuses, the rights and obligations of defense attorneys, attorney-client relations, presumption of innocence, defenses, evidence, cross-examination, complaint procedures, pretrial detention, investigative torture, and preventing torture. With these modules, the sjtc is helping an ever-expanding group of lawyers from around the world increase its skills and knowledge through an accessible on-demand training platform.

cambodia - since 2001, ibj has been helping cambodia to rebuild its justice system by organizing training sessions, rights awareness campaigns, roundtable meetings and providing legal aid services. Through its offices located cambodia, ibj holds seminars and training sessions throughout the country to help train attorneys and inform citizens of their rights. Ibj's team works to ensure that cambodia recovers from the extensive genocide perpetrated by the khmer rouge during the 1970s and 1980s and becomes a place where every single citizen can pursue justice.

other program services - ibj has a program called justicemakers that conducts online competitions to support grassroots legal rights projects worldwide. In four competitions since 2008, ibj has selected 46 justicemakers fellows from over 26 countries. Ibj has two inter-related online legal education services that are accessed throughout the world: the legal training resource center and the criminal defense wiki. These services have enabled the distribution of legal knowledge and resources to overcome physical barriers. Finally, ibj has started a new initiative called youth scholars program.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

IBJ is an amazing organization led by a charismatic, thoughtful and dynamic women, Karen Tse. She leads a terrific team of talented staff who punch way above their weight class. The' impossible' is but a challenge for IBJ. Anything is possible if you have a plan, are smart and determined. And that exemplifies the work of IBJ. IBJ moves mountains. It is the cutting edge innovator in fighting against torture and providing legal assistance and aid in difficult circumstances.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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?

Mia Y.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Over the 10 years of its existence, International Bridges to Justice has done more to protect and advance the human and legal rights of the average citizen of those countries it serves, through its collaborative and educational approach, than any other organization anywhere. We are led by the Rev. Karen Tse, whose individual idealism and determination have made the most extensive and most beneficial difference in more lives and more countries than any other human rights advocate today. I am truly honored to be a small part of this great mission and to serve alongside some of the best people I have ever known.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of International Bridges to Justice because of the work it does on behalf of the poor and the unfortunate. People who often are thrown into prison for no reason, other than they failed to pay a bribe, and are kept there for years without being charged or cared for. In fact many are tortured. IBJ brings legal assistance to these people. the work with governments to gain entry and therefore are collaborators rather than adversaries. This is truly a peace bringing and peace making organization. The founder and CEO is a visionary who works tirelessly all over the world to gain access with her teams of lawyers and legal workers.