On 28 May, ILAC held its 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) virtually. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time the ILAC AGM brought together members from around the globe in an innovative and reduced virtual format. The 2020 AGM was originally planned to be held in Panama, hosted by ILAC’s members Inter-American Bar Association (IABA) and the Panama Bar Association. ILAC was very grateful for the offer from IABA and the Panama Bar Association to host us and would have much appreciated an AGM in Panama. However, the need to adapt is ever present these days and this is no different for a justice consortium with some of the most prominent bar associations and legal organisations globally.
The Secretariat was happy to welcome more than 40 members to the meeting. The COVID-19 pandemic has led our members to quickly adapt and implement several measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their work to advance the rule of law. Likewise, the AGM fully demonstrated the strong value of our consortium as a collective of expertise and experience, especially in times when the delivery of justice as well as people’s access to legal remedies have been severely compromised.
The AGM is ILAC’s highest decision-making body and governance decisions taken by the AGM this year included the re-election of ILAC’s individual member Nina Lahoud to the Board of Directors. Nina is a long-time supporter and ILAC member and brings over three decades of expertise from the peacekeeping and legal development work, involving numerous United Nations assignments in conflict-effected countries, to our team. Furthermore, 16 seats in the ILAC Advisory Council were elected. The AGM also elected two new members to the consortium, namely the Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) and individual member Mr. Fernando Peláez-Pier. LAW is a non-profit organisation working to deliver access to justice to those who need it most, such as victims and survivors of human rights violations and abuses in conflict-affected contexts.
Mr. Fernando Peláez-Pier is a former International Bar Association (IBA) President and a key expert for ILAC in its work in Cuba and in Latin America in general. ILAC is very pleased to welcome both LAW and Mr Fernando Péláez-Pier as members.
In conjunction with the 2020 AGM, on 26 May, ILAC hosted a successful public webinar on how to support the independence of the judiciary in Guatemala. The webinar built on the most recent ILAC rule of law assessment report, “A Window of Opportunity: Support to the Rule of Law in Guatemala”, which points to the finding that recent threats to the justice sector had reversed the progress made to strengthen the rule of law during the existence of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. However, it emphasizes the new incoming executive as a window of opportunity for the international community to re-engage with Guatemala and recommends how support can be provided to the justice system to continue the fight against corruption and strengthen the rule of law. The report was coordinated by ILAC and is a collective effort between ILAC and prominent members such as the Law Society of England and Wales, Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and World Justice Project as well as experts from the Guatemalan judiciary. WJP also presented their data on the status of the rule of law in Guatemala, giving a broad overview of priorities for rule of law reform.
ILAC is grateful to our members’ commitment and dedication in pursuit of ILAC’s mission of equal access to justice for all and for making this very different AGM so successful.