by Christine Williams, PFP, JD, MSW
“It is foolish to want to change the world...but criminal not to try.” – Dr. Moncef Marzouki, Tunisia
So begins the April, 2002 online newsletter for Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB), a non-profit US-based, global association of lawyers dedicated to the promotion and protection of human justice. Financed largely through the generosity of its founding attorneys and interested private parties, LWOB is not affiliated with other “Without Borders” groups.
The organization grew out of a vision to direct the pro bono services of lawyers from around the world as a resource for world peace, says Executive Director Christina Storm. For the past two years the organization has worked to create a virtual community of lawyers from around the world, trained in negotiation, experienced in problem solving and conflict resolution, expert in the intricate workings of judicial systems and human rights and dedicated to serve society by protection of the integrity of individuals, through the development of systems to ensure their dignity and creation of an environment that will safeguard it over the long term.
Recent LWOB Projects
Peacekeeping in the Middle East
In interviews with Israelis, Palestinians and human rights organizations, LWOB is working to help fashion a constructive and bi-partisan approach to human rights issues. Part of the organization’s work will be documenting the destruction of several human rights law offices in the West Bank.
Protecting the Integrity of Judicial Process
For the past few months LWOB has been involved in efforts to place neutral court observers in trials closed to the public and media. This effort has led to the development of the Neutral Independent Court Trial Observer Project, intended to create teams of experienced litigators able to remain neutral, impartial and independent, otherwise closed trials. Efforts are currently in preliminary stages to sign on governments willing to recognize and accept observers into trials in their countries.
Kosovo Trials, Human Rights in Iran, Civilian Torture in Nigeria
Trial lawyers with expertise in Criminal Defense work have agreed to be “on call” via e-mail and fax to assist in trial preparation for ongoing trials and trial preparation in Kosovo. Additionally, two teams of experienced lawyers are in the process of investigating and determining potential courses of action concerning human rights matters brought to the attention of LWOB concerning Iranian prosecutions and civilian torture in Nigeria. Experienced lawyers with significant experience in these areas are encouraged to contact LWOB.
Links with Canadian Lawyers
Links with Canadian lawyers have been strong, says LWOB Director Christina Storm, and she hopes to create a Lawyers Without Borders Canadian branch when funding permits.
Any lawyer wishing to become involved in LWOB may contact Christina M. Storm, Executive Director of Lawyers Without Borders Inc., at 330 Main St., Hartford, CT 06106 USA Tel: 860.525.3700 Fax: 860.525.0287 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Web site: www.lawyerswithoutborders.org).
Christine H Williams, a former sole practicing lawyer from Chicago, is proprietor of LRS Legal Research, providing reasonably priced online legal research for solo and independent law practices. She can be reached at email@example.com or 604.990.5123.
This article was published in the August 2002 issue of BarTalk. © 2002 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.