The ignition of another JusticeMakers competition naturally sparks excitement. Yet, what is today, rests on foundations that were laid down before. The JusticeMakers 2012 HIV/AIDS Global Competition was built on ideas, intentions, and purposes that stem from the past. Tim Scheu explains how JusticeMakers was thoughtfully crafted to…

He was right there when JusticeMakers came into being. From 2007 through 2010, Tim worked at IBJ and made a significant impact on the competition’s inception: “To put it lightly, I considered JusticeMakers my baby. When I worked at IBJ, we were eager to give a voice to those out there doing criminal defense work on a local scale. To take a closer look at their conditions, the places they work in, and the solutions they enact to mitigate their environment’s legal challenges. IBJ was looking for a way to assemble the wider community’s best practices, and JusticeMakers was the vehicle designed to identify top-end practitioners.”

Over the years, different people brought in different pieces that, once combined, completed the puzzle. 33 JusticeMakers presented their expertise, and complemented each other’s knowledge. They painted a picture of what criminal justice looks like around the world. “From the strategies that these people use, we learn how to adapt our programs and find the optimum for the work we carry out. It’s a landscape assessment.” 

During the time period leading up to JusticeMaker’s creation, legal aid advocates, as well as the pressing situations they faced, were persistently kept hidden in the dark. Those who were desperately trying to establish the rule of law in their communities, alike the myriad of hindrances that were put in their way, went unnoticed. Therefore, the need to demonstrate this as a global phenomenon grew increasingly evident: “JusticeMakers allows IBJ to lift its voice, to make a compelling case for this issue. The program exposes stories that underpin the need for a dramatic change in penitentiary contexts.”


On another level, the competition supports individuals to accomplish the justice they envision. Anyone applying for JusticeMakers not only deserves a second look, but more often the funding required to get their idea off the ground. “IBJ’s CEO Karen Tse has a remarkable impatience for the delivery of justice. She feels a tremendous urgency to deliver legal aid in as many places as possible, now. If Karen learns there is a great idea in say, Nigeria, she is eager to get that funded, now. And so empower the local entrepreneur to contribute in their way, in their context, to the ideal that IBJ represents.”

…and give
International Bridges to Justice believes in transformation of legal communities. And accomplishes reform through education of lawyers, training of police forces, opening up discussions among criminal justice stakeholders, and informing the citizenry of its rights. “The JusticeMakers competition, as an add-on to previously existing IBJ activities, shares tools that enable JusticeMakers fellows to be great local advocates for the kind of work that IBJ is doing. It is a building of partnerships, a facilitating of exchange.”