Strategy and Methodology
IBJ’s theory of change is uniquely practical and realistic, rooted in the legal frameworks that already exist in the developing world.
“IBJ fulfills a specific unmet niche market in the non-profit arena as an organization that approaches human rights through a specific commitment to the legal development of criminal justice systems.” (IBJ Strategic Plan, 2000)
In our focus on practical changes resulting from the proper implementation of domestic law, IBJ is complementary to, but can be clearly distinguished from, campaigning human rights organizations that focus primarily on advocacy. We do not seek to impose from outside and focus on advocacy and awareness that is always in tandem with practical implementation. IBJ works in countries that have a will to deliver criminal justice but are unable to implement that will due to lack of resources, awareness, and trained lawyers.
IBJ works from within countries to achieve the practical implementation of legal protections into the day-to-day lives of citizens.
IBJ only works in countries:
- Whose international treaty obligations and national laws already provide for the necessary legal protections for its ordinary citizens and
- Where IBJ has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant government and legal authorities, which sets out the parameters under which IBJ will work, and the roles and interaction of IBJ and the different domestic parties in reforming the criminal justice system.
IBJ’s program efficiency is enhanced by its preferred methodology of establishing partnerships and alliances with strategic players before beginning in-country operations. IBJ begins its projects by negotiating and signing agreements with governments, legal aid offices, professional associations, and universities, thus ensuring that its activities are seen as non-confrontational and can have the maximum impact in practice.
The reinforcement of any criminal justice system can only happen from within the local community and through the empowerment of local actors. Only through cooperation and inspiration can a foreign organization be instrumental in the process of structural change. It cannot be an imposition, but rather a strategic alliance, in which knowledge, professional capital, inspiration, and idealism flow in both directions; benefiting all members involved, as well as society at large.
IBJ is unique in its approach to achieving its goals, partnering with countries in which the organization believes it has the highest likelihood of creating a sustainable solution to problems of torture and unfair criminal proceedings. By examining measures of need combined with measures of stability, IBJ identifies partners that are in dire need of help in developing their criminal justice systems but also have the capacity to support public defense systems in the long term.
This allows IBJ to ensure that those who need it can access attorneys, and that the projects the organization undertakes will be viable for the long term, perpetuating the organization’s initial impact. This approach has generated great success in the past, and is at the heart of IBJ’s organizational philosophy.