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BIIJ 2003
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Toward the Development of Ethics Guidelines for International Courts: Report of a workshop on judicial ethics held during BIIJ 2003

Keynote Address by Theodore Sorensen

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Brandeis Institute for International Judges 2003

Authority and Autonomy: Defining the Role of International and Regional Courts

20-26 July 2003

Schloss Leopoldskron - Salzburg, Austria

From July 20 to 26, 2003, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life held its second annual Brandeis Institute for International Judges (BIIJ). Organized at the beautiful Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria, BIIJ 2003 brought together 14 judges from 9 international courts and tribunals for a week of reflection and discussion about their unique work. Core and guest faculty led sessions on a wide variety of topics, each designed to provoke new kinds of thinking about both the pragmatic challenges and the ethical dilemmas faced by judges whose courts have transnational or regional jurisdiction.


BIIJ 2003 judges

The Institute started off with a session that used the "humanities-based approach" developed as part of the long-standing Brandeis Seminars in the Humanities and the Professions program. Led by Brandeis Professor of politics and law Jeffrey Abramson, the session called for judges to ponder in an abstract manner some of the ethical issues that might arise in the course of their work. Justice Richard Goldstone of the Constitutional Court of South Africa followed this session with a provocative one on the spread of terror in the post 9-11 era and its consequences for international law. Professor Thomas Franck of the New York University School of Law focused his session on the functioning of the International Court of Justice, perhaps the best established of all international judicial bodies. Professor Gerhard Loibl of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna addressed the increasingly important domain of environmental law and the manner in which states are encouraged to comply with international environmental treaties. The problematic issue of how the public views international courts and tribunals was the topic of the session led by Louise Doswald-Beck, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists. Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court spoke to judges about concepts of law held by his court as well as some of the recent decisions it has rendered, including Lawrence v. Texas. Problems facing the newly established and, in some quarters, controversial International Criminal Court were discussed frankly by Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations, along with Justice Richard Goldstone.

One of the most innovative parts of the BIIJ program was a day-long workshop on the development of common themes and guidelines that can inform the codes of ethics that guide the professional behavior of judges who sit on international courts and tribunals. Led by Daniel Terris, Director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, and Professor Gregory Weber of the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific, this discussion brought to light many ethical challenges faced by the judicial bodies represented by participating judges. These challenges include how to achieve a truly independent judiciary and how to ensure the impartiality of international judges. This workshop is seen as the first step in a continuing discussion about codes of ethics for international courts and tribunals and how common guidelines for them might be formulated and applied.

Another highlight of the Institute week was the keynote address delivered by Theodore Sorensen, international lawyer and former special counsel and advisor to President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Sorensen spoke on the topic of "International Jurisprudence: the Best and Worst of Times." BIIJ participants also had the opportunity, while at the Schloss Leopoldskron, to attend the first annual Jacques Delors Lecture, sponsored by the Salzburg Seminar. It was delivered by former Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky on the topic of "The State of the European Union."

In addition to working in sessions, BIIJ participants had ample time to continue their discussions after hours--over meals, on the Schloss terrace with the Untersberg in the distance, in the bierstube, while strolling into the old city of Salzburg, or on leisurely bike rides in the vicinity of the Schloss. The Institute thus combined successfully an intensive program of reflection and discussion with a congenial atmosphere in which judges could forge new professional ties.

Core Faculty

  • Jeffrey Abramson, Professor of Politics at Brandeis University
  • Justice Richard Goldstone, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

Guest Faculty

  • Hans Corell, Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, United Nations
  • Louise Doswald-Beck, Secretary General, International Commission of Jurists
  • Thomas Franck, Professor of Law, New York University
  • Anthony Kennedy, Justice of the United States Supreme Court
  • Gerhard Loibl, Professor of Law, The Diplomatic Academy of Vienna
  • Theodore Sorensen, lawyer and former assistant to President John F. Kennedy, Center advisory board Chair, Keynote Speaker

Participating Judges

  • Antônio A. Cançado Trindade, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Brazil)
  • Maureen Clark, International Criminal Court (Ireland)
  • Mehmet Guney, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Turkey)
  • John Hedigan, European Court of Human Rights (Ireland)
  • Jainaba Johm, Vice-Chairperson of the African Commission for Human and People's Rights (The Gambia)
  • Hassan Jallow, Special Court for Sierra Leone (The Gambia)
  • Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart, Pristina District Court, United Missions in Kosovo (Poland)
  • Erik Mose, President of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (Norway)
  • Navanethem Pillay, International Criminal Court, former President of the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (South Africa)
  • Fausto Pocar, Vice President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Italy)
  • Kamel Rezag Bara, Chairman of the African Commission for Human and People's Rights (Algeria)
  • Geoffrey Robertson, President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (UK)
  • Bankole Thompson, Special Court for Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone)
  • Budislav Vukas, Vice-President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Croatia)


  • Gregory Weber, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific,
  • Linda Carter, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

The Brandeis Institute for International Judges 2003 was funded by the Rice Family Foundation and the David Berg Foundation.