Justice and Rule of Law

Every person, no matter how powerful or rich, must be held to the same standards as others. This concept is a cornerstone of all rights-respecting societies. In order for this principle to become reality, we need to ensure that institutions that create, apply and enforce the law—from the parliament to the courtroom to the police station—work for the most marginalized and poor among us.

“The grants we receive from the Fund are indeed "the grants that make a difference" for us because they provide institutional support for the work we do. The Fund’s general support grants ensure continuity, build our organizational strength and allow us to take on complex projects and bring long-term change to the Pakistani judicial system.”
Sarah Belal, Justice Project Pakistan

We are proud to be an ally to human rights defenders who take on this multi-faceted and often incredibly complex work. Our grantees are:

  • Holding dictators, high-ranking military and militia accountable for genocide and other gross human rights abuses, in national and international courts
  • Fighting for victims of torture and illegal detention, and for the families of people who have been “disappeared” and extrajudicially executed
  • Pressing for effective transitional justice mechanisms and rebuilding the justice system in post-conflict countries
  • Devising and implementing common-sense solutions for judicial and police reform

The Fund’s long-term approach is critical to this work. We have supported some efforts for well over a decade, including the trial of former Guatemalan president Efrain Rios Montt, who became the first head of state to be convicted of genocide by a domestic court. Despite a subsequent politically-motivated ruling requiring that part of the case be re-tried, the initial ruling is a critical step in the country’s fight against impunity. The case continues.

Fund grantees have played an instrumental role in many other victories including:

  • Constitutional reforms in Morocco which criminalized torture and arbitrary detention, guaranteed fair trial rights and freedom of expression, and strengthened judicial independence
  • A Mexican Supreme Court ruling that military jurisdiction cannot be applied in cases of human rights violations, which could ultimately bring justice to thousands of victims of abuses by armed forces
  • The passage of a bill awarding compensation to thousands of Filipino victims of arbitrary detention, torture and executions under former president Ferdinand Marcos’ regime
  • The indictment of two Guinean colonels for their role in orchestrating the 2009 Conakry stadium massacre
  • The first conviction of a commanding officer for mass rape in eastern DRC