International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization's stated mission is "to protect the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries by guaranteeing all citizens the right to competent legal representation, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial". IBJ has the additional stated goal "to end torture in this Century".
IBJ was founded in 2000 by former public defender Karen I. Tse in response to her time spent working as a Fellow for refugees in Southeast Asia in the 1980s and then as a trainer for Cambodia’s first core group of public defenders in 1994. After witnessing numerous violations of citizens' legal rights, Tse enrolled at the Harvard Divinity School in 1997, where she began devising the business plan for International Bridges to Justice.
IBJ only works in countries whose international treaty obligations and national laws have already laid the legal framework for the protection of their citizens and where a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the relevant government and legal authorities, setting out the parameters under which IBJ will work.
IBJ adopts a three pillar approach to accomplishing its aims:
- Providing technical support and training to criminal defense lawyers
- Organizing justice sector roundtable sessions to bring together all of the key stakeholders in the criminal justice system, including defenders, prosecutors, judges, police, detention center officials, local government representatives and legal academics
- Raising rights awareness amongst the populations in the countries where the organization is active
Criminal defense trainings and workshops
IBJ's main method of furthering its aim of criminal justice reform is through training public defenders, or legal aid lawyers, in countries throughout the developing world. IBJ has developed a range of interactive criminal defense trainings, which include international best practices, specific hypothetical situations and country-specific legal informational and case studies.
IBJ recruits emerging lawyers in the field of human rights to work in Defender Resource Centers in their respective countries, which serve as the basic infrastructure for programming, as well as the support and resource hub for local defenders and neutral meeting ground for dialogue between judicial stakeholders. IBJ provides training and support to the Fellows, who go on to head the IBJ Country Programs and to provide legal aid to the local population.
JusticeMakers is an online community created by IBJ to share information and best practice models in different criminal justice systems. Community members are members of the global criminal defense community. The JusticeMakers program hosts an annual criminal justice innovation competition that awards project funding to grassroots legal rights projects in communities around the world.
Legal Training Resource Center
The IBJ Legal Training Resource Center is aimed at increasing public defender capacity worldwide through the creation of on-demand web-based eLearning courses.
The Criminal Defense Wiki
The Criminal Defense Wiki is an IBJ project that allows law students, professors, and experienced criminal defense practitioners from around the world to create an internet resource for criminal defense lawyers.
- Sri Lanka
- South America
- "Mission and Goals". International Bridges to Justice. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- "Celebrating 10 Years of Improving Legal Rights WorldWide". International Bridges to Justice. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- Echoing Green. "Karen Tse Biography". Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- Robyn Meredith. "The Dreamer", Forbes, 18 May 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Core Activities". International Bridges to Justice. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- "What is Justicemakers?". International Bridges to Justice. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- JusticeMakers. "JusticeMakers.ibj.org". Retrieved 2009-11-10.
- "IBJ eLearning". elearning.ibj.org. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
- "Criminal Defense Wiki". defensewiki.ibj.org. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
- "Country Programs". International Bridges to Justice. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
11."Karen Tse – On a Mission to End Torture in 93 Countries" published on 99Faces.tv 2018-03-29