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The International Commission of Jurists

Global Advocates for Human Rights

By Howard B. Tolley, Jr.

Publication Year: 1994

Since its founding in 1952, the International Commission of Jurists has inspired the international human rights movement with persistent demands that governments obey the rule of law.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights


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pp. vii-viii

List of' Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Bert Lockwood, director of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, initiated this study in 1983. He sent two fellows from the Institute, Fred Woodbridge and Richard Rosswurm, to gather materials and conduct interviews at the IC] headquarters in Geneva. IC] Secretary-General Niall ...

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pp. xiii-xvii

Critics around the world condemn privileged lawyers as arrogant, greedy, manipulative, and self-serving. The stereotype does not fit the International Commission of Jurists (IC]), an organization of human rights lawyers based in Geneva, Switzerland. While its members and staff would never be faulted for excessive humility, their pride ...

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Introduction: Human Rights NGOs, World Politics, and International Law

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pp. 1-22

Is the International Commission of Jurists part of a "new world order?" Theorists make conflicting claims about the influence of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The first section of this Introduction explores the debate between realists and idealists and proposes a functional analysis of human rights institutions. The second ...

Part I. 1952-1955: Cold Warriors against Socialist Legality

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1. Recruiting Free World Jurists

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pp. 25-46

The war that ended Hitler's genocidal crimes against humanity left a rival mass murderer in control of Eastern Europe. Stalinism appeared on the march in Czechoslovakia, Greece, China, and Korea. The United States feared that communist totalitarianism was spreading throughout Europe and beyond. The International Commission of ...

Part II. 1956-1963: Liberal Idealists for the Rule of Law

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2. Organizing a Global Network

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pp. 49-67

After 1955 the LC] deliberately turned away from strident anticommunism directed exclusively at Eastern Europe. As the British and French empires crumbled, the Cold War sparked intense competition for control of newly independent governments in Africa and Asia. Legal idealists confronted third world political rivalry over who would ...

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3. Defining the Rule of Law

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pp. 68-78

In the late 1980s liberal democratic values enjoyed spectacular triumphs. Eastern Europe and the USSR repudiated Marxism and socialist legality; multiparty democratic reforms swept Latin America and Africa. Academic theorists hotly debated the significance. Was there now universal acceptance of liberal democracy? Had Westernization ...

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4. Protecting Victims

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pp. 79-94

Between 1956 and 1963 the IC] developed independent authority to investigate violations, judge governments' guilt, and publicly condemn their crimes. Traditionally, states alone enforced international law with diplomatic or military means, and governments recognized few customary rules beyond formal treaty obligations. Over the ...

Part III. 1963-1970: NGO Pioneers for International Human Rights

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5. Building Coalitions for Global Change

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pp. 97-113

In an extraordinarily violent decade, millions of innocent victims died in superpower proxy wars, civil conflicts, racial disorders, and independence struggles. The Cold War turned hot in Vietnam; the Congo, Nigeria, and Burundi suffered bloody domestic conflict; black freedom fighters took up arms against white rulers throughout ...

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6. Responding to Crisis

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pp. 114-134

Throughout the 1960s states promised justice in new human rights treaties, but they practiced the most extreme barbarism. The ICJ struggled to protect life and liberty in crisis after crisis. In 1963 the ICJ Secretariat received 5,878 letters and sent 6,592.2 Secretary-General MacBride left to Amnesty International rescue efforts for ...

Part IV. 1970-1990: Elite Advocates for Economic and Social Justice

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7. Mobilizing Advocates for Development

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pp. 137-164

After extraordinary atrocities in the 1970s, the human rights movement came of age. Cambodia's killing fields, South African apartheid, disappearances in Argentina, and widespread torture pricked the global conscience. Human rights NGOs, sympathetic national officials, and international organizations responded together with apparent effect. ...

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8. Setting Standards and Procedures

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pp. 165-186

Advocacy for international human rights law resembles the U.S. civil rights movement. Just as American civil rights leaders appealed for federal protection against segregationist states, so human rights groups lobbied for international protection against national governments. NAACP litigation forced school desegregation, and mass demonstrations ...

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9. Enforcing Civil Liberties

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pp. 187-217

Righteous anger erupts when tyrants murder for power, soldiers gun down protesters, torturers maim children, death squads terrorize peasants, and racists subjugate their equals. Victimized students, workers, lawyers, and religious leaders, their families, friends, churches, and unions appealed in desperation for ICJ help. Speaking truth to ...

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10. Representing the Bench and Bar

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pp. 218-240

Lawyers are alternately honored and reviled. In Boston and Bangkok critics detest attorneys' high fees and high living. The bar seems to produce scores of ambulance chasers for each civil liberties hero. Comedians have entire routines of cuttingjokes about lawyers' greed, opportunism, bribery, dishonesty, and political connections. "Question: ...

Part V. 1990-1993: Third World Leadership for a New Order

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11. Turning Forty

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pp. 243-270

Public interest groups have a high infant mortality rate and short life expectancy. More than three-thousand international NGOs have dissolved or become inactive." Long after most other nineteenth-century organizations passed away, the government-supported International Red Cross prospered as an exception. Unable to secure permanent ...

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Conclusion: Politics, Law, and Human Rights NGOs

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pp. 271-282

The puzzle of international politics cannot be solved without understanding NCO functions. Some human rights advocates tout their work as nonpolitical, but the ICJ has participated in a global struggle for power-the individual against the state, international organizations against sovereign governments. Although it may not impress ...


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pp. 283-288

1. ICJ/CIJL National Sections and Affiliates, 1993

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pp. 283-286

2. ICJ/CIJL Periodicals, Yearbooks, and Activity Reports

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pp. 286-288


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pp. 289-332


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pp. 333-344


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pp. 345-355

E-ISBN-13: 9780812203158
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812232547

Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 1994

Series Title: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights