International Fair Trial Day – 14 June 2024 – Focus country: The Philippines

In 2021, a group of lawyers and lawyers’ organisations came together to establish an annual International Fair Trial Day (IFTD) to be observed every year on 14 June. This initiative is supported by more than 100 legal associations across the world, all of which are committed to the vital importance of the right to a fair trial and the serious challenges to due process rights worldwide. They established a Steering Group for the organisation of IFTD.

The Steering Group agreed that in each subsequent year, one country – where fair trial rights are being systemically violated – would be chosen as the focus country, and an event would be organised to mark IFTD, as well as a series of activities around the event to draw attention to the situation in that country. The events include holding a conference on systemic fair trial issues and making a public statement with concrete recommendations on how to tackle these.

The decision to establish an IFTD was also accompanied by the establishment of the Ebru Timtik Award. Ebru Timtik is a lawyer from Turkey who lost her life on 27 August 2020 as a result of a 238-day hunger strike she undertook to protest against the systemic violations of fair trial rights which people in Turkey are facing. Every year, on the occasion of the IFTD, the Ebru Timtik Award is granted by an independent jury to an individual or individuals and/or an organisation who have or which has made a significant contribution to the defence and promotion of the right to a fair trial in the focus country.

The first IFTD focus country chosen was Turkey, in 2021. A virtual conference was held on 14 June 2021, to mark the occasion. The first Ebru Timtik Award was granted posthumously to Ebru Timtik herself. The second conference, which focused on the systemic fair trial issues in Egypt, took place in Palermo, Italy on 17-18 June 2022. Mohamed El-Baqer and Haitham Mohammadein, two Egyptian human rights lawyers who were in detention at the time, received the Ebru Timtik Award. In 2023, the focus country was Mexico. Legal professional organisations, bar associations, and civil society organisations from Mexico and across the world gathered for the 2023 IFTD conference held in Mexico City on 14 June 2023. The winners of the Ebru Timtik Award 2023 were two feminist lawyers, Alicia de los Ríos Merino and Ana Yeli Pérez Garrido, who were celebrated for their tireless work to address the justice struggle for the systemic issue of enforced disappearances and violence against women in Mexico.

2024 International Fair Trial Day Focus Country: Philippines

The Steering Group has expanded since 2021 to include a number of other prominent organisations taking part in the work, all as listed below. Several nominations were received for this year’s IFTD focus country. Following due consideration of the proposals, the Philippines has been chosen as the focus country of 2024. This decision is based on the following: