The international Bar Association (IBA) has decried the rising cases of human rights violation across the globe.The global lawyers’ body said certain core values underpinning democratic societies were being “corrosively” eroded.
IBA President, Martin Solc, at the opening of this year’s conference in Rome, Italy, said a growing number of countries were being led or influenced by populists with no strong ideology on the essence of unfettered human liberty. His words: “We should realise that the world in which we are living is moving in a strange direction. Certain core values underpinning democratic civil societies are being corrosively eroded. I speak of the rule of law and the battering it is facing in these turbulent global political times. A growing number of countries are led or influenced by populists with no ideology.
“And this becomes true for more and more countries including some in which we have taken liberal democracy under the rule of law for granted, like my own (America). We should never stop reminding ourselves of that, particularly here in Rome, in the city that experienced the fall of the once greatest empire on the earth and, centuries afterwards, that of the birth of fascism, being the beginning of the darkest era in the modern history of Europe.”
He charged lawyers, as servants of the blindfolded lady holding the sword and the balance, to do all they could to preserve rule of law. Solc continued: “Not because it is the raison d’etre of our profession. Not because it is what we learned in school. But because as guardians of rule of law, we understand often better than others that when rule of law gets suppressed and forgotten, society falls under the uncontrollable rule of individuals with vested interests and, ultimately, dictators.
“The legal system and the rule of law are often set up as the adversary of populist movements which only highlights the significance of the need to actively defend rule of law in the current political times. “As we are gathered here in Rome, the words of that famous lawyer from ancient Rome, Cicero, are worth repeating in this context – “we are all servants of the law in order that we may be free.”
Consequently, he launched the first element of an education campaign, highlighting the significance of the rule of law in everyday life. For him, even if terrorists must face trial, lawyers should drive home the point that the principle of rule of law applies to any and every other person in society.