In 2019, before COVID-19 swept the world and brought about yet incalculable consequences to the justice sector, we saw that the justice gap already continued to widen, with 1.5 billion people had unresolved justice problems.
To us, that shows that ILAC’s mission – to rapidly respond to and assess the needs of the justice sector in conflict-affected and fragile countries and help strengthen the independence and resilience of justice sector institutions and the legal profession – is vital to closing this gap and that our activities are more relevant than ever.
Some of the highlights from our work in 2019 were:
In Syria, ILAC supports Syrian legal professionals in the administration of justice, enhancing their knowledge on relevant legal and transitional justice related topics, while simultaneously building their capacity to inform ongoing and future reconciliation efforts. In 2019, we supported lawyers in the north-west of the country to provide legal counsel to more than 680 Syrians and facilitate over 1,000 legal consultations.
In Libya, ILAC addresses the challenges of supporting legal professionals in an ongoing conflict and instability. In 2019, ILAC was implementing legal awareness activities, reaching 255 community activists and leaders in Libya. As a result, young Libyans from Benghazi launched a social media campaign to raise awareness and promote youth participation in peacebuilding and reconciliation.
In Cuba, ILAC works for Cuban legal professionals to have a greater awareness and understanding of the demands of working towards economic and legal reform in an international setting. In 2019, we awarded 250 Cuban lawyers with a diploma in international commercial law.
In Liberia, ILAC launched a rule of law assessment report – Still Looking for Justice, Customary Law, the Courts and Access to Justice in Liberia. The report examines Liberia’s dual legal system, which incorporates both a formal judiciary operating primarily in the country’s cities and towns, and customary adjudication of minor disputes by traditional authorities in the rural interior. Examining the interplay of these two systems, the report identifies obstacles to access to justice for Libe- rians and opportunities to overcome those obstacles.
While these are just a few snapshots of the highlights from work in 2019, we are also engaged in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Guatemala.