Justice Leadership Group (old)

What is at stake?
Rule of law and effective justice delivery are critical components for peace, stability and the economic development of communities. This is true for all nations: poor or rich, powerful or less powerful. There is general recognition that the results of decades of efforts to promote rule of law have not been overwhelming. A number of lessons were learned. However, one thing is missing: an understanding of leadership in justice change.

There is an abundance of knowledge on leadership in the world of business and politics. Google “business leadership” and you find almost a half billion websites. Every year over 15.000 management books are published. Every business school has a course and at least one professor on leadership in business. Law schools have none.

A blind spot
Law schools don’t teach leadership. Yet, rule of law building needs more than good managers and technical experts. It demands capable leaders. Justice leaders navigate through a multitude of external stakeholders with many vested interests. They take tough decisions while faring on a strong moral compass. They provide direction, inspiration, and empowerment that can fundamentally shift a culture and make the crucial difference.

The Justice Leadership Group
Having served justice and their citizens for a long period, the members of the Justice Leadership Group have come together to support others who have accepted the task and the challenge of serving justice in their societies. They share first-hand experience with leading justice change at the highest political level and a strong commitment to delivering justice.

The members of the Group are:
Salaheddin Al-Bashir – Former Minister of Justice of Jordan
Siri S. Frigaard – Former Chief Prosecutor of Norway
Kalthoum Kennou – Vice-President of the Court of Cassation of Tunisia
Tharcisse Karugarama – Former Minister of Justice and former Attorney General of Rwanda
Athaliah Molokomme – Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Botswana to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva
Willy Mutunga – Former Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya
Diego García-Sayán – UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Sang-Hyun Song – Former President of the International Criminal Court

Justice Leader Emeritus:
Claudia Paz Y Paz – Former Attorney General of Guatemala
Ernst Hirsch Ballin – Former Minister of Justice of the Netherlands

Dr. Al-Bashir on the biggest challenge for leadership in the justice sector:

What we do
The members of the Justice Leadership Group assist those who need to lead change, such as constitutional reform, increasing access to justice, innovating justice systems and setting up transitional justice mechanisms. They use their experience, knowledge and expertise as a resource to help them successfully lead justice change and become even more effective. And they support them in their day-to-day struggles with upholding rule of law, during crises that are inevitable, and in encountering the individual challenges and resistance that they face.

The Justice Leadership Group does this through:


  • Working with justice leaders in office, at their request, to make justice change processes more effective.
    We can offer advice based on our own track record of success and failure. We can support agenda setting and help develop coalitions for change around justice challenges in peace and post-conflict processes. And we can open up networks that can provide technical assistance, capacity building, and funding.


  • Telling and disseminating stories about effective justice leadership to inspire others.
    We share what we have learned – our own dilemma’s, best practices, successes and even failures. With articles, books, short films, and public appearances we put justice leadership on the map, hoping to empower and inspire others.


There are 5 things we know about justice leadership

  1. Justice leadership is personal. The courage of a justice leader who defies resistance and defends her constitution may be the difference between rule of law being sold out or being upheld. Rule of law is about values. You need people to uphold them.
  1. Justice leadership projects direction. It is the difference between a chief justice who complains about the workload of her judges and a chief justice who complains about how many citizens need to wait too long before a court helps them.
  1. Justice leadership builds bridges. It connects legitimate and effective institutions and the people they must serve. It brings together all the different people and organisations that collectively make up the justice system and gets them to work together.
  1. Justice leadership inspires and protects. Leading by example fuels the belief that change is possible and releases the energy and courage to get it done. Effective justice leaders empower and, if need be, shield other leaders to give them space to lead change.
  1. Justice leadership is lonely. Working in complex environments with many stakeholders, numerous vested interests, and a lot of time pressure, there is always criticism and opposition. You need to take decisions while there is no one around who really understands what it is like.