August 30, 2013

Diego García-Sayán Receives Rule of Law Award, Bill Ide Recognized

August 2013

Lawyers, judges and bar leaders from around the globe gathered to celebrate the career and achievements of the Honorable Diego García-Sayán, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), to whom the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) presented the 2013 Rule of Law Award. Former ABA President and ABA ROLI Board Chair Stephen N. Zack presented the award during an August 10 luncheon ceremony held as part of the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

In his remarks, Judge García-Sayán praised the ABA for its role in advancing human rights and the rule of law worldwide, and especially in the Americas. He also highlighted the achievements that many Latin American countries have made in recent years with regard to respect for human rights, the rule of law and jurisprudence. He went on to acknowledge the ways in which the Americas as a whole can continue to expand support for human rights and for the IACHR and its mandate, saying that he viewed the award as a “vibrant signal” that the ABA would be a partner in advancing this cause.  

In addition to his work with the IACHR, Judge García-Sayán currently serves as the director general of the Andean Commission of Jurists and as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. He has served as Peru’s minister of justice, helping normalize Peru’s relationship with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and as its minister of foreign affairs, leading Peru’s ratification of the Rome Statute. He has also worked with the United Nations (UN), including as the chair of its Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.

With the award, ABA ROLI celebrates the legal profession’s highest ideals and respect for the rule of law worldwide. The Rule of Law Award is bestowed annually upon those who have undertaken a significant role in effectuating legal system reforms, protecting human rights or otherwise advancing the rule of law in a country, in a region or internationally. Judge García-Sayán joins a notable list of past award recipients, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem (Navi) Pillay, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Honorable Hilario Davide, Philippine Supreme Court Justice (ret.), and the Honorable Stephen Breyer and the Honorable Anthony Kennedy, both of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also during the event, ABA ROLI recognized the contributions of R. William Ide, a former ABA President and multi-year member of the ABA ROLI Board of Directors. During the presentation, Zack credited Ide, a partner in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of McKenna, Long and Aldridge, with being a stalwart and visionary champion of ABA ROLI and its predecessor organization, the ABA Central and Eastern European Law Initiative or ABA CEELI.

In his remarks, Ide referenced the importance of dreamers, from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to ABA CEELI founders Homer Moyer and Talbot (Sandy) D’Alemberte, who, through their enthusiasm and dedication, foster hospital environments that ultimately change the world for the better. While acknowledging that ABA CEELI’s initial efforts in the former Soviet Union have led to great strides in strengthening the rule of law worldwide under ABA ROLI, he also spoke of enduring threats to peace, prosperity and the rule of law, suggesting that only “global and bold” action can address them. He spoke directly to lawyers, encouraging them to draw upon the inspiration of dreamers and to answer the pressing call that they serve to advance the rule of law.