Launch of the UN’s SDG 16 Report (participatory project 2017)

The final report about the private sector’s role in advancing SDG 16 (peace and justice) was issued on Friday in a 90-minute conference at the UN.  The report describes the conceptual framework and ethical stance that may drive private sector participation, and it then describes the means and methods of the private sector contributions thus far.  It illustrates these by examples of companies and countries that have successfully collaborated to create a better rule of law and more stable societies around the world.  You can find the report here or here, and a video of the launch event is here.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 — Peace and Justice (participatory project 2017)

The SDG Fund — — has commissioned a report about Sustainable Development Goal 16, “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”, and in particular about the role of the private sector in advancing the many goals within SDG 16.  For LHF, this is a participatory project, and we expect to be writing/editing much of the report with our friends at McDermott Will and Emory, Penn Law and many collaborating companies around the world.  There is a reason why SDG 16 combines “peace” with “justice” and we expect that the final report will illuminate the connections between the two, and the great progress being made (despite seeming indications to the contrary).

Announcing the Legal Horizons Rule of Law Fellowship

We are pleased to announce the creation of LHF’s new “Rule of Law Fellowship” in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  This fellowship will support a first-year student each summer to work at an international organization dedicated to promotion the rule of law around the world.  Our first intern, Allyson Reynolds, is already at work at the International Criminal Court at the Hague.  Our thanks to Professor Rangita deSiva de Alwis at Penn for her help and dedication in establishing this new program and her efforts on behalf of the rule of law generally.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Initiative and the Rule of Law (participatory project):

In late 2015, LHF provided its largest grant to date to fund efforts by the United Nations Global Compact to make rule of law enhancement a focal point of their global “sustainable development” drive.  Our grant facilitates the UN’s work to solicit support from the private sector for the rule of law, and helps coordinate the UN’s own work in the area, which is spread among a great many affiliated organizations.  To date, this effort has led to the participation by scores of corporations in rule of law projects, and the creation of a consensus framework for corporate rule of law efforts.

The Rule of Law in Guatemala (participatory project, 2013, 2014)

Within weeks of the conviction for genocide of Efron Rios-Montt, the former dictator of Guatemala, that conviction was reversed on a procedural technicality by the country’s Constitutional Court, calling into question Guatemala’s basic fidelity to the rule of law. Partnering with the Vance Center for International Justice, LHF provided financial support for a delegation of international lawyers to examine the situation first-hand. A year later, we sponsored a second delegation to follow up in Guatemala to examine issues surrounding judicial independence and the process of selection of judges.

The Vance Center’s reports about these two missions are [here] and [here], and were broadly disseminated in the Latin American media.  Meanwhile, events in Guatemala accelerated, with the resignation and arrest of the country’s President and Vice-President on corruption charges, and the arrest in the United States of a member of the Constitutional Court on corruption charges arising out of his membership in the governing body of FIFA, the international soccer organization.

Guantanamo Bay (grant):

LHF believes that Guantanamo Bay is a catastrophic “legal black hole” that has delivered a new paradigm to American law: perpetual incarceration without legal control. Attempts to close the facility, or at least to reduce size of its blight on the rule of law, have been mired in nativist political rhetoric for years. With grants to Human Rights First, LHF has supported that organizations intense, multifaceted efforts to close Guantanamo and to bring some measure of due process to it in the meantime. We expect that, just like HRF’s efforts, our support for these projects will be ongoing.

Protecting Investigative Reporters from Libel Litigation (participatory project, ongoing):

Much of the world’s most important investigative journalism is not done by the staff of 60 Minutes or the New York Times. It is done by individuals and small groups of dedicated professionals acting outside the protective umbrella of large corporations, and these reporters risk their lives and livelihoods every day. Too often, the corrupt and wealthy subjects of their true stories use the courts to try to inflict cost and complication on these reporters, by bringing frivolous libel suits that can be immensely expensive to defend.

Working with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and with the Vance Center for International Justice, LHF is crafting new forms of insurance for these reporters to protect them against these kinds of strike suits. This is a major project that involves the creation and licensing of a new insurance company dedicated to investigative reporters and owned by its policyholders. When completed, it will provide low-cost or no-cost insurance to defend investigative reporters in court, and should serve to discourage the kinds of strike suits that plague them.

Legal Infrastructure and Access to Justice (grants):

LHF regularly makes grants to legal services organizations that provide representation to indigent individuals or other groups in need of help in the courts. We commend to your attention the great work being done by, among many many others: