2007 Justice Event

Ms. Alyson O’Mahoney
(914) 241-0086 ext. 13
Bernetia Akin Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
Online Newsroom: www.gruberprizes.org/news-media FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Where Have All the Courageous Gone?”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Moderates Symposium Featuring 2007 Gruber Justice Prize Recipients

Three Latin American Champions of Justice to Receive Prestigious Gruber Prize and its $500,000 award at Georgetown University Law Center on October 10, 2007

September 25, 2007, Washington DC – Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg will moderate a symposium featuring three active voices for democracy in the Latin American judicial system as they are honored with the 2007 Justice Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. “Courts at Risk - Rights in Peril: Where Have All the Courageous Gone?” will be the subject as Supreme Court Justice Carmen Maria Argibay of Argentina, Judge Carlos José Cerda Fernández of Chile, and lawyer/activist Mónica Feria Tinta of Peru discuss both current events and the important actions they took within their countries that led them to this honor. The symposium will take place on October 10, 2007, at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Live streaming video will be available worldwide at http://www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice.php

“Each of these recipients has played an important role in fighting for democratic principles in the face of tyrannical regimes, often at great risk to his or her own freedom and safety,” says Peter Gruber, founder of the foundation which has been awarding the annual Gruber Justice Prize since 2001. “They will talk about their experiences and discuss how to recognize, and act in, politically dangerous times.”

Event Panelists Will Include:

Carmen Argibay
Carlos Cerda
Mónica Feria

Justice Carmen Argibay was imprisoned for nine months, without trial or charges, by the military dictatorship in Argentina in 1974. After democracy was restored, she resumed her duties as a Sentencing Judge and was subsequently appointed to the National Court of Criminal Appeals and the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court of Argentina. Justice Argibay was founder and first president of the Argentine Association of Women Judges and was president of both the International Association of Women Judges and the Foundation of Women Judges. In December 2000, she served on the Tokyo Tribunal to adjudicate charges of sexual slavery and other war crimes allegedly committed by the Japanese military against women from Korea, the Philippines, and Japan. Justice Argibay was also appointed in November 2002 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as an ad litem Judge and served through 2005. Justice Argibay¹s career demonstrates a lifelong commitment to promoting gender equality and eliminating corruption within the justice system. A complete biography is available at www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice_LaureateProfile.php?id=14&awardid=12

Judge Carlos Cerda is widely admired as an outstanding leading legal scholar. Judge Cerda is reputed to be the only judge in Chile to pursue cases of human rights abuse by the Pinochet regime while the general was still in power. He issued indictments against members of the Chilean military and police, as well as civilian collaborators engaged in kidnapping and murder. An editorial at the time declared that “one judge demonstrated that it can be done,”and “that it’s worth the effort.” He continues to this day to bring members of the Pinochet regime to justice for corruption and tax evasion. Cerda has been dedicated to teaching young lawyers and judges-in-training, based on his philosophy that “judges are guardians of the human condition when threatened by power, who pursue justice, inner peace, with prudence, without pride or concern over reward or personal security, and most importantly, with independence.” While a visiting scholar at Harvard, the International and New York bar associations issued a statement calling Cerda “one of the most brilliant jurists in Chile today;” saying, “his rectitude, courage and honesty is unquestioned by even his opponents.” A complete biography is available at www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice_LaureateProfile.php?id=13&awardid=12

Mónica Feria is an international lawyer who champions the fight against torture around the world. She argued the first international case concerning the rights of children in times of war before the highest international human rights tribunal in the Americas, where she helped establish a major precedent protecting children’s rights. Feria also secured 6 million dollars in reparations for victims of crimes against humanity at the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. The case represented 600 people, including Ms. Feria and 132 other women, who had been victims of torture at the time of the 1992 massacre at the Castro Castro prison in Lima, Peru. This was the first time that a victim had sought justice by directly pleading a case of crimes against humanity involving thousands of people, and directed against the top State agents in a country, before the Inter-American Court, the highest tribunal in the Americas. This is the first international human rights case in the American region where violence against women, including rape, was considered to constitute a crime against humanity. It also became the basis for the most serious case brought against then-president Alberto Fujimori, who had ordered the massacre and the torture of the survivors. Fujimori awaits extradition to Peru from Chile, as prosecutors have just this week made the appeal. A complete biography is available at www.gruberprizes.org/GruberPrizes/Justice_LaureateProfile.php?id=12&awardid=12

Additional Information

The Gruber Foundation Justice Prize is presented to individuals or organizations for contributions that have advanced the cause of justice as delivered through the legal system. The award is intended to acknowledge individual efforts, as well as to encourage further advancements in the field and progress toward bringing about a fundamentally just world.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the symposium moderator. Appointed to the high court by President Clinton in 1993, Justice Ginsburg has provided a strong, independent voice in matters pertaining to human rights. While an attorney, she played an important role in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and argued several cases involving women’s rights before the Supreme Court. In a speech before the Constitutional Court of SouthAfrica in February 2006, she spoke of the need to preserve the rule of law and recognize individual liberties, even in the face of terrorism. Justice Ginsburg was ranked #20 on Forbes’ 2007 list of “The 100 Most Powerful Women.”

In addition to the cash award, winners receive a medal of honor and citation, which reads, “The 2007 Justice Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is hereby proudly presented to Carmen Maria Argibay, Carlos José Cerda Fernández and Mónica Feria Tinta who overcame personal experiences of profound injustice to become outspoken champions of justice. Through their enormous personal courage and tenacious commitment to a just rule of law, they challenged the absence of rights in their respective worlds and, in so doing, brought justice to their own countries and inspirition to human rights advocates around the globe.”

“Each prize recipient has shown great resolve in fighting for democratic principles in the face of tyrannical regimes, often at great risk to personal security. Collectively, they are a model for individual action aimed at achieving human equality and the resistance of tyranny around the world,” said Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a member of the selection panel choosing Gruber international Justice Prize recipients.

“In every age and in every country, heroes appear. Often they are reluctant heroes who choose to take a principled stand in difficult times. I’m confident that the efforts of this year’s Justice Prize recipients – three courageous persons working within the justice systems of Latin America – will inspire people from all parts of the world to do the right thing at the right time,” said human rights advocate Martin Lee, Esq., a member of the Gruber Justice selection committee.

Members of the committee that selected the 2007 Justice Prize Recipients:

  • The Honorable Rosalie Silberman Abella, Justice, Supreme Court of Canada
  • Dennis Archer, Esq., Former President, American Bar Association, Former Mayor of Detroit, Former Member of the Supreme Court of Michigan
  • Giuseppe Bisconti, Esq., Chair, International Foundation for the Rule of Law and the Independence of Lawyers and Judges and Dormer President of the International Bar Association
  • The Honorable Arthur Chaskalson, Chief Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa, retired
  • Martin Lee, Esq., Founding chair of the Democratic Party, Hong Kong, human rights activist
  • The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice, Supreme Court of the United States of America, retired

Past honorees of the Gruber Foundation Justice Prize include:

  • 2006: Aharon Barak, retired President of the Supreme Court of Israel, renowned for championing an activist judiciary and the rule of law and democracy.
  • 2005: Malaysian attorney Dató Param Cumaraswamy who, at considerable risk to himself, stood up for the independence of the judiciary.
  • 2004: Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, the first president of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, and Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa, an advocate and judge who helped establish South Africa’s Constitution as a model for modern democratic societies.
  • 2003: Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella and Madame Justice Bertha Wilson for their contributions to jurisprudence in Canada and beyond. Abella, who served on the Ontario Court of Appeal for 20 years before her appointment to the Supreme Court, is one of Canada’s leading advocate for women’s and human rights; Wilson, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, has forged a reputation as a champion of the underdog and a dedicated proponent of fair play.
  • 2002: Fali Sam Nariman, Member of the Parliament of India, Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and President of the Bar Association of India. Nariman has played an important role in both establishing and enforcing the rule of law in India. He’s played an important role in establishing universal principles of human rights as a standard for India and other emerging democracies.
  • 2001: The Honorable Justice Anthony Roy Gubbay, former Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, and the Law Society of Zimbabwe were the joint recipients of the inaugural Justice Prize in 2001, honored for upholding the independence of the judiciary and protecting the rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

The Gruber international Prize Program honors contemporary individuals in the fields of Cosmology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Justice and Women’s Rights, whose groundbreaking work provides new models that inspire and enable fundamental shifts in knowledge and culture. The Selection Advisory Boards choose individuals whose contributions in their respective fields advance our knowledge, potentially have a profound impact on our lives, and, in the case of the Justice and Women’s Rights Prizes, demonstrate courage and commitment in the face of significant obstacles.

The nomination form and additional information about nomination requirements and selection criteria may be found on the Foundation web site at www.gruberprizes.org/Nominations/Nominations.php

The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice and scientific achievements that better the human condition. For more information about Foundation guidelines and priorities, please go to: www.gruberprizes.org.

For more information on the Gruber Prizes email media@gruberprizes.org or contact Bernetia Akin of the Gruber Foundation at 340-775-8035 or by mail 140 W 57th St Suite 10C New York, NY 10019. Media materials and additional background information on the Gruber Prizes can be found at our online newsroom: www.gruberprizes.org/news-media


To schedule a one-on-one interview with any of the 2007 Gruber Justice Prize recipients or to attend and cover the symposiumevent, contact Alyson O’Mahoney at (914) 241-0086, ext 13, or email aomahoney@robinleedyassociates.com