In the Spotlight

IAWJ Board Member, Hon. Esther Agelan Casasnovas, Represented the IAWJ at OHCHR’s Expert Group Meeting on Legal Capacity and Access to Justice

IAWJ Board Member, Hon. Esther Agelan Casasnovas from the Dominican Republic, represented us at OHCHR’s Expert Group Meeting on Legal Capacity and Access to Justice. 

According to Magistrate Agelan, “the exchange of information and resources among judges and government officials from countries where there have been great accomplishments in the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, gave us important tools for the creation of judicial frameworks on the matter, as well as to ensure the comprehensive care modalities that promote access to justice for persons with disabilities.”

Read more on our News Blog.

IAWJ Member, Hon. Sanji Monageng, Publishes Op Ed for the UNODC

IAWJ member, Hon. Sanji Monageng, from the International Criminal Court, wrote an Op Ed for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) titled “Effective Judicial Selections and Appointments.”

In the article, Judge Monageng talks about judicial integrity and independence and about her support of the Southern African Chief Justice Forum to create Best Practice Guidelines for Judicial Selection and Appointment of Judges. Moreover, she makes recommendations regarding the monitoring implementation of such best practices.

You can find the full article here.

IAWJ Board Member and President of the Tunisian Women Judges Association (TWJA), Hon. Saida Chebili, presented on the IAWJ’s Regional Perspective in Human Trafficking

Hon. Saida Chebili, IAWJ Board Member and President of the Tunisian Women Judges Association (TWJA), participated in the United Kingdom Association of Women Judges’ (UKAWJ) Annual Conference in Liverpool on November 9th.  She did a presentation for the Conference on the IAWJ Regional Perspective in Human Trafficking

The theme of the conference was “Migration Slavery and the Law.”

IAWJ Members participate in UNODC’s Expert Group Meeting on Gender-Related Judicial Integrity Issues in Seoul

IAWJ members, Hon. Teresita de Castro from Philippines, Hon. Eusebia Munuo from Tanzania, Hon. Adisa Zahiragic from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hon. Sanji Monageng from Botswana, and Imane El Malki from Morocco will participate in UNODC’s Expert Group Meeting on Gender-Related Judicial Integrity Issues in Seoul from December 6-7.  Along with our members will be IAWJ Senior Advisor, Nancy Hendry. 

IAWJ Member, Magistrate Mar Serna, to be Member of Spain’s next General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ)

Magistrate Mar Serna, IAWJ member and founder of IAWJ’s Spanish chapter, the Asociación de Mujeres Juezas de España (AMJE), will be part of Spain’s next General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ). 

Read more on our News Blog.

IAWJ President, Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, Moderated a Panel on Access to Justice at the World Bank’s 2018 Law, Justice, and Development Week

IAWJ President, Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, moderated a panel on access to justice with the participation of IAWJ Member, Chief Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima of Zambia.  

Visit our News Blog to see pictures from the panel.

IAWJ Member Judges meet at the World Bank’s Law, Justice and Development Week 2018

From November 5-9, twenty IAWJ Member judges joined us for this year’s World Bank: Law, Justice, and Development Week.

IAWJ Past President Hon. Susana Medina de Rizzo was interviewed for Página 12

On October 29, the Argentinian news source Página 12 published a great interview with past IAWJ President, Dr. Susana Medina de Rizzo. In her interview, she highlighted the need for women judges to continue building bridges and closing gaps in order to

“build bridges of communication, solidarity, and the transfer of knowledge, doctrine, and jurisprudence”.

To read more about her interview visit the IAWJ News blog.

Judge Felicia Toney Williams is the First Female African-American Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana

The IAWJ congratulates long-term IAWJ member, Judge Felicia Toney Williams of the United States, for becoming the first female African-American Chief Judge  of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana. 

As Chief Judge, she is committed to  working

“hard to make sure that … [her] court serves the public in the best way possible”.

To learn more about Chief Judge Williams visit our News blog.

Chief Justice Gita Mittal welcomed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association

In a welcoming ceremony, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) High Court Bar Association, celebrated Justice Gita Mittal’s appointment to the J&K High Court.  Justice Gita Mittal is the first woman Chief Justice of the J&K High Court. During the ceremony, the IAWJ member, ratified her commitment to equal justice for all. 

IAWJ congratulates Chief Justice Gitta Mittal, a long time and committed member! 

Read about her pioneering work on our News blog.

Judge G. Helen Whitener elected to serve as co-chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission

IAWJ extends its congratulations to longtime member, Judge G. Helen Whitener, for being elected to serve as co-chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission. 

As co-chair, Judge Whitener will aid in guaranteeing that Washington state courts

“treat each individual as an individual without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, or religion.” 

Judge Whitener was previously appointed to the Pierce County Superior Court in 2015 and firmly believes in guaranteeing unbiased and equal access to justice.

Read more about this news in our News blog.

Twenty-seven IAWJ Members from sixteen Countries attended the National Association of Women Judges’ Annual Meeting

Twenty-seven IAWJ judges from sixteen countries joined their US colleagues at the annual meeting of the National Association of Women Judges, held in San Antonio Texas, October 3-6. During the meeting, IAWJ President Vanessa Ruiz was interviewed about IAWJ’s mission and programs. She spoke about the close and longstanding relationship between IAWJ and NAWJ.

IAWJ Board of Directors and Members Participated in the Fourth International Conference on Judging with a Gender Perspective

IAWJ Board of Directors and members, including the Mexican Chapter of the IAWJ, participated in the Fourth International Conference on Judging with a Gender Perspective, sponsored by the Supreme Court of Mexico, under the leadership of IAWJ Vice-President, Justice Margarita Luna Ramos.

Justice Sheila J. Greckol received Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Alberta

Photo credit: John Ulan


IAWJ congratulates IAWJ member, Justice Sheila J. Greckol, for receiving the University of Alberta’s Distinguished Alumni Award for her contributions to international labor and human rights. She was presented with this award on September 24th at the 2018 Alumni Awards ceremony. Justice Greckol has been honored in the past for her outstanding human rights work. In 1991 she received the Suzanne Mah Memorial Award.

Justice Greckol has been a dedicated leader in human rights issues and an active member of the IAWJ. She is a member of the Canadian Chapter of the IAWJ (CCIAWJ) and has served on its Board of Directors.

To read more about Justice Greckol, please visit the IAWJ News blog.

Former President Hon. Brenda Hale part of the first female majority to hear a Supreme Court case in the UK

For the first time in 600 years, UK’s Supreme Court will have a female majority hear a case. Among the judges will be  former IAWJ President, Honorable Brenda Hale. Lady Hale has been a dedicated leader and active member of IAWJ for years. Lady Hale is also UK’s Supreme Court’s first female president.

Her work in promoting women’s access to senior roles in the  judiciary has made her an esteemed advocate for women’s rights. Her accomplishments have, once more, made history. 

To read more about this, visit the original article at The Telegraph.

Justice Imani Aboud Appointed to African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

IAWJ congratulates IAWJ leader, Justice Imani Aboud of Tanzania, for her recent election to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. She will be sworn in on August 27th at the commencement of the 50th Ordinary Session in Arusha, Tanzania, the seat of the court. Justice Aboud replaces another IAWJ member on the court, Justice Solomy Bossa, who has joined the International Criminal Court. Two of the three newly elected judges are women.      

Justice Aboud has been a dedicated leader and active member of the IAWJ and the Tanzanian Women Judges Association. She recently served as a member of the IAWJ Board of Directors from 2016-2018 representing the African region, and as President of the Tanzania Women Judges Association from 2015-2017.  Justice Aboud shares her knowledge and leadership with fellow IAWJ members at IAWJ Biennial Conferences, global judicial forums such as a Summit on Human Trafficking at the Vatican, and IAWJ programs, including as a judicial trainer in IAWJ’s global Sextortion program, funded by the Government of the Netherlands.

To read more about Justice Aboud, please visit the IAWJ News blog.

IAWJ Participates in ILAC’s Guatemala Justice Sector Assessment

Despite being at peace for over twenty years, the impact of the conflict and violence the the 1960s internal conflict in Guatemala are still felt today, particularly in the rule of law. The International Legal Aid Consortium (ILAC) conducted a Rule of Law assessment on the Justice Sector in Guatemala.

To implement the needs assessment, ILAC sent of team of eight experts to Guatemala, two of which were IAWJ members Hon. Josselyne Béjar Rivera (Mexico) and Hon. Gabriela Knaul (Brazil). The team was able to meet with over 150 Guatemalan legal professionals, civil society actors, and international officials all across the country. The team assessed the role and response of justice sector actors in response to rule of law challenges this includes issues such as: the aftermath of conflict and impunity, land claimed by indigenous peoples and local communities, violence, discrimination, and the decriminalization of protests. 

To read more, see the IAWJ’s post here

The Asociación Mexicana de Juzagadoras had an incredibly successful year in 2017.

In the Asociación Mexicana de Juzagadoras’s (AMJAC) report for 2017-2018 they share their incredible accomplishments in their academic and educational programming. The association was able to interact and engage with different types of community stakeholders, the international judicial community, and the media to promote the rights of women in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the world.

Their activities included televised interviews on different sentencing structures in criminal matters, national forums and conferences on femicide. To engage with local stakeholders, the AMJAC organized a guided tour of a museum exposition discussing the issue of Femicide in Mexico. AMJAC was also able to engage with members of all levels of the judiciary on multiple occasions including IAWJ Board Member Hon. Margarita Beatriz Luna Ramos, a judge presiding on the Supreme Court of Mexico.

To read more of the Asociación Mexicana de Juzgadoras’ activities during 2017-2018 please click here!

IAWJ Delegation at the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women












14 March 2018, is the International Association of Women Judge’s delegation’s first day at the 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. This year’s CSW theme is “Empowering Rural Women and Girls.” IAWJ’s delegation this year has some of our members from Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, and the United States. In addition to attending the CSW official meetings, the delegation will be hosting a panel entitled “City Justice/Country Justice” where our judges will discuss the experiences of rural women and girls seeking justice and compare them to those of their urban counterparts. You can find more information on the panel here, and find the delegation’s agenda here. To read more about IAWJ at CSW click here!

IAWJ is proud to congratulate long time member, Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa.

On 06 December 2017, long time IAWJ member, Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa, was elected as a judge to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Justice Bossa will serve a nine-year term on the international court. While sitting as a judge on Uganda’s High Court, Justice Bossa participated in IAWJ’s two-week training program, Jurisprudence of Equality, where she applied international conventions to cases alleging crimes of discrimination and violence against women in Entebbe, Uganda in 1998.

Justice Bossa  previously served on the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, where she tried Hutu tribal members who were accused of grave human rights violations. When ICTR officially closed in 2001, Justice Bossa accepted a five-year appointment to the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. During this time, Justice Bossa was also appointed to the East African Court of Justice, making her the first woman to receive such an appointment.

Justice Bossa has continued to try important matters of human rights during the past three years that she has spent on the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights. The IAWJ is honored to have Justice Bossa as a part of its membership and would like to congratulate her on this achievement.

Out of the six available positions, five were filled by female nominees. IAWJ is glad to see a continued representation of women judges on the ICC bench. Congratulations to all of the elected judges.

IAWJ member and former Vice President Marianne de Rooij (The Netherlands) represented us as a member of the ILAC justice sector mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). De Rooij shares her findings here.

CAR has a long and violent history of authoritarian regimes, armed mutinies and serial rebellions, along with impunity for gross human rights violations and atrocity crimes.

Thousands have been killed in the armed conflict that began in 2013 between the Seleka (predominantly Muslims) and Anti-Balaka (predominantly Christians and Animists), and hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their homes.  The UN peace keeping mission MINUSCA arrived in 2014. Despite succesful democratic elections in early 2016, outbursts of violence continue to be a daily reality in CAR. Remote areas remain out of control of the government.  During the assessment, a so called “ville morte” (a general strike) took place in Bangui; the strike and accompanying demonstrations resulted in the several violent deaths of the participants.

CAR authorities created the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in 2014. Although not yet active, the Special Court will work within CAR’s national justice system, and is tasked to prosecute violations of human rights and international humaniatrian law.  The SCC is seeking foreign and national judges to preside on the SCC, which will cooperate with the ICC.

ILAC’s assessment team examined the needs of the national justice sector, the barriers present to fighting against impunity, and ways in which support might be provided in overcoming these challenges.  The full resulting Assessment Report will be published in March 2017 on ILAC’s website

The team found a severely damaged judicial infrastructure.  There are not enough police officers, judges, procescutors, lawyers, and court personnel, and there is a lack of basic equipment. The justice system is chronically underfunded.  People working in the justice sector are unsafe.  Despite  terrible working conditions, the people working in the judiciary are dedicated to the rule of law.

There are very few women working  in the justice sector in the CAR. The female judge of the court of first instance in Bangui told the team that she is well respected in her work by the public and her colleagues. She hopes there will be more women working in the judiciary soon, but this a very slow process. The team visited a women’s prison and noted that the guards are mainly men.

There is no national women judges association, but a women’s jurists association,  “L’association des femmes juristes”, is very active in CAR. Together with many NGO’s  and ABA/ROLI, the women jurists – among them judges – organize legal aid for women and so-called “centres d écoute” ( “listening centers”), where women can tell their stories and receive medical and psychological help.  There is a great need for these services due to the high incidents of rape, sexual assault and violence against women and children.  In most cases, the perpetrators are not prosecuted. In the fragile security situation women fear to come forward, and it is difficult for the justice system to arrest suspects, conduct investigations or protect witnessess.

The ILAC team proposed a number of recommandations for building the CAR national justice system, within several directions: regional cooperation, protection of witnesses, and training and education in international law.  In addition, alongside the SCC, the national system –its lawyers and judges–must be strengthened and integrated into the assistance. With de Rooij’s participation, the Assessment team identified two priorities:  training and education on gender equality, and a focus on prosecuting gender based violence. Both priorities are an important part of the future development of the justice system in CAR.