It was clear that we needed to strengthen our governance structure and internal processes so that we, our membership, our beneficiaries and our donors could be confident that we would deliver upon expectations and objectives with probity and reliability.
In this report you will see how we have progressed in terms of our expanding external programmes in the MENA region, Syria, and in Latin America. Further, we conducted two ILAC assessments during the year – both in difficult and demanding environments and politically sensitive contexts. Alongside this we have been working extensively to ensure that our internal mechanisms are robust and have also been preparing the groundwork for a new 5 year Strategic Plan for 2017-2021, including consultation with members and other stakeholders.
At our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Stockholm in May 2016, we amended our By Laws to conform more accurately with Swedish law. Our Executive Committee became a Board of Directors-the primary decision making body of ILAC; The Chair became The President of ILAC and the ILAC Council was transformed into a smaller Advisory Council –providing advice to the Board and the Secretariat upon key issues- such as the shape and substance of the Strategic Plan. During the AGM in Stockholm we also had a public seminar “Breaking the Cycle of Violations: Reforming Judiciaries as Prevention” together with the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff. The Seminar was also the starting point for a continued dialogue between ILAC members, the UN and other International actors about the importance of judicial independence in transitional settings.
We welcomed 3 new members during 2016. The Tunisian Bar Association and two distinguished individual members, Ebenezar Kwaitoo from Ghana and Judge Keith Raynor from the UK. Judge Raynor was one of the experts engaged in the Syrian assessment. During the AGM we conferred honorary life membership upon Joan Winship, former Chief Executive of the International Association of Women Judges.
At the conclusion of the AGM, we were very pleased to accept an invitation from our Board member Kimitoshi Yabuki on behalf of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations in conjunction with the Japanese International Cooperation Association(JICA) to hold our AGM for 2017 in Tokyo.
The Secretariat has expanded to accommodate the growing needs of ILAC. During 2016 a new Head of Administration and Deputy Director, Silvija Tolomanoska, was appointed following the departure of Per Lagerstrom, our office manager, to pastures new. A new Programme Manager for the MENA program, Ulrika Nilsson also joined us, as well as two interns.
Another signature event for ILAC in 2016 was the Stockholm Human Rights Award-which was awarded to President Mary Robinson. ILAC is a voting member for this prestigious award along with the IBA (International Bar Association) and the Swedish Bar Association. The event was attended by more than a thousand people.
The final version of the ILAC Strategic Plan for 2017-21, clearly express and recognises the unique value of ILAC’s membership through the expertise and insights that our members contribute for the benefit of those we support. We thank you for continuing with that support.