Supreme Court Justices, Former European Presidents, Nobel Laureates and Other World Leaders Headline Vienna Forum on Movement for Justice

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Over 90 countries on five continents to be represented

The tragic effects of ineffective legal and administrative decisions, endangering the lives of millions of Myanmar's people following a devastating cyclone, spotlight the vital role of the rule of law in daily life – one that extends far beyond courts and law.

An array of high-profile leaders from around the world will discuss at the upcoming World Justice Forum the importance of the rule of law to healthy communities, the negative consequences communities face when the rule of law breaks down, and how multidisciplinary collaboration can strengthen the rule of law.

Participants in the four-day conference, from July 2-5 at the Austria Center in Vienna, will include Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony M. Kennedy. In addition, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, and Former Romanian President Emil Constantinescu will present keynote remarks during the opening session. The Forum will feature leaders in the fields of law, religion, education, engineering, health and other disciplines from more than 90 countries around the world.

Additional speakers and attendees include:

  •     Cherie Booth Blair, Queens Counsel, London
  •     Hilario G. Davide Jr., Former Chief Justice of the Philippines
  •     Hernando de Soto, President, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Lima, Peru
  •     Adama Dieng, Assistant Secretary-General and Registrar, UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
  •     Ashraf Ghani, Former Finance Minister of Afghanistan
  •     Kunio Hamada, former Justice, Supreme Court of Japan
  •     Parvez Hassan, lawyer and human rights activist, Lahore, Pakistan
  •     Nemata Majeks-Walker, founding President, The 50/50 Group of Sierra Leone
  •     Beverly McLachlin, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada
  •     Mohammed Sa' ad Abubakar, President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs

A complete agenda may be found at http://www.abanet.org/wjp/docs/abawjp_forumagenda_05-30-08.pdf.

The World Justice Forum will bring together 500 participants from 15 disciplines to focus on the rule of law’s contribution to education, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, access to justice, public health, labor rights and business opportunity, among other issues. Participants will develop concrete proposals for multidisciplinary programs to strengthen the rule of law following the July event.

The conference will also feature the unveiling of a new Rule of Law Index which measures more than 100 factors such as freedom of expression, protection of property rights, transparency in law and administration, and government officials’ accountability to the law. Preliminary data from the following nations: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Columbia, India, Nigeria, Spain, Sweden and the United States will be discussed to demonstrate the Index's efficacy.

The Forum is hosted by the World Justice Project, which has convened cross-disciplinary conferences on five continents leading up to the Vienna meeting. The Project has also assembled two international teams of experts to conduct scholarship on the rule of law. The first is led by Nobel Laureates Drs. James Heckman and Amartya Sen; the second, by Professor Yash Ghai, chair of the Constitutional Advisory Unit for Nepal.

The World Justice Project's sponsors include the World Federation of Public Health Associations, People to People International, Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch, the Association of International Educators and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The American Bar Association, the world’s largest volunteer professional association, is a founding member of the project.

Participation in the World Justice Forum is by invitation only. For additional information and for media registration, visit http://www.abavideonews.org/ABA517/.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

Contact:
Warren Hazelton
312/988-6141
hazeltow @ staff.abanet.org

Or:        
Patricia Gaul
202/662-1094
gaulp @ staff.abanet.org

Online: http://www.abanews.org

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Patricia Gaul

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