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The most recent WJP Rule of Law Index found that the pandemic has exacerbated rising authoritarianism, eroded respect for fundamental rights, and fueled justice delays around the world.  At the upcoming World Justice Forum (May 30–June 3), advocates and experts from civil society, government, and the private sector will convene to plot a constructive path forward.  How can we reinvigorate momentum to reach Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and ensure dignity and justice for all?

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The city of The Hague in the Netherlands is home to more than 200 international organizations, including the International Court of Justice. This makes it the ideal setting for the World Justice Forum, the premier international event for advancing rule of law around the globe. The World Justice Forum runs from May 30-June 2, but your experience doesn’t have to start or end there, as it is the anchor event for The Hague Justice Week 2022 running throughout the city.

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2016 march to the U.S. Capitol in protest of police shootings.  Credit: Joseph Gruber

The United States is facing significant and growing rule of law challenges. Diverse datasets capturing various dimensions of the rule of law reflect mounting concerns about democratic accountability, trust in electoral processes, contested rights of free expression and assembly, and systemic inequities in the U.S. justice system, among other issues, These trends raise questions about the quality of governance in the United States and, given the leadership role of the United States globally, they have implications for respect for the rule of law around the world as well. New data and related advanced analytical and machine learning methodologies hold great promise for improving understanding of these current U.S. rule of law trends and identifying reform needs and opportunities. As part of a new multi-year initiative focused on rule of law in the United States, the World Justice Project (WJP), together with the Wright Center for the Study of Computation and Justice Communities at Dartmouth College and Bright Line Watch, plans a two-day workshop for discussion of works-in-progress generating data insights on contemporary U.S. rule of law issues. The workshop will take place November 11-13, 2022, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Travel stipends will be available to support participation by those selected to present papers at the workshop.

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Russian tanks lined up for “Victory Day” in 2021. Credit: Elena Ostankova/iStock
Russian tanks lined up for “Victory Day” in 2021. Credit: Elena Ostankova/iStock

Vladimir Putin’s claims of genocide in Ukraine were more than a fictional basis to rally domestic support for an invasion, according to University of Chicago Professor Tom Ginsburg. They were an example of a growing trend Ginsburg has termed “authoritarian international law.”  We spoke with Ginsburg, the co-chair of the World Justice Project’s research consortium and the author of the 2021 book Democracies and International Law

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Around the world, an estimated 5.1 billion people face unmet legal needs. The World Justice Project first revealed the massive scope of this challenge with the release of new household survey data from over 100 countries at the 2019 World Justice Forum. At that same Forum, civil society leaders, policymakers, and donors from around the world dug into solutions and strategies to narrow the justice gap. Many of these efforts continue to bear  fruit, including the United Nations adopting a new access-to-justice indicator to measure progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Photo by: Mauricio Palos

In the first two weeks of its release, the gripping Netflix docuseries Reasonable Doubt: A Tale of Two Kidnappings became one of the most watched shows in Mexico and a trending program in the United States. It follows the nightmarish ordeal of four men who face an ever-morphing series of criminal charges despite a startling lack of evidence and recanted eyewitness testimony. 

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In this episode, WJP speaks with Adalah, an independent human rights organization and legal center based in Haifa, Israel. Mellon-ACLS Public Fellow Joe Haley is joined by Dr. Hassan Jabareen, Adalah’s Founder and General Director. A noted scholar and lecturer on the legal status of Arab minorities in Israel, Hassan founded Adalah in 1996 to advance the cause of human rights, in general – and Arab-Palestinian rights, in particular – within the legal system of Israel. Under his leadership, Adalah has represented Palestinians in many landmark cases before the Israeli Supreme Court, including cases that impact Palestinians’ right to participate freely in electoral politics, their equal title to land and access to public resources, and the legal status of Arab-Israeli citizens and their immigrant family-members who have been displaced by conflict. Proving the adage that minority rights are human rights, Adalah has sought accountability for rights abuses at the hands of police and security forces, as well as equal protection for citizens who have been incarcerated or who are accused of crimes. Their list of accomplishments includes a library of academic publications on such topics as torture, forced displacement, and systemic discrimination within Israeli law – as well as a litany of successful advocacy campaigns designed to mobilize international institutions and spread awareness about real-time threats confronting ethnic minorities in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  

When we spoke last year, political tensions within Israel had recently boiled over following the attempted eviction of a Palestinian family living in an East Jerusalem neighborhood known as Sheikh Jarrah. Weeks of mass protest within Jerusalem were followed by a cross-border exchange of airstrikes and rocket fire, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths. One month later, Israelis of all stripes took to the polls in an historic election that ousted the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister. Amidst the backdrop of these tumultuous events, Hassan struck a tone of cautious optimism regarding the progress of Arab equality as his country emerges from this latest round of political violence and the lingering global pandemic.

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standing for the rule of law 2021

  In a year of enormous rule of law challenges around the globe, the World Justice Project sounded the alarm that 85% of the world’s population now live in countries where rule of law is declining. Throughout 2021, WJP worked to track and reverse these trends.

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