International bridges to justice: protecting the basic legal rights for all

Every day in many countries around the world, citizens accused of crimes are arbitrarily detained, tortured, and denied access to counsel. IBJ is dedicated to protect the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens. The mission is to guarantee all citizens the right legal representations, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment and the right for a fair trial. Through train the trainer approaches IBJ focuses on creating in-country capacity in order to change the system. Since its founding in 2000 IBJ has improved the lives of thousands of individuals in developing countries.


Since its founding in 2000, IBJ has improved the lives of thousands of individuals in developing countries who find themselves accused of crimes, safeguarding the rights of everyday people around the globe.


IBJ’s mission is to guarantee all citizens the right to competent legal representation, the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial.
IBJ believes that the most vulnerable populations often suffer the most grevious injury in dysfunctional legal systems. To this end, our programs are designed to benefit those who cannot otherwise afford a lawyer. Within this group, we focus on the most vulnerable in the population – women, children, minority groups and other stigmitized or marginalized minorities.


IBJ’s programming utilizes a train-the-trainer approach to maximize impact and create long-term sustainability of our projects in each country. IBJ’s focus is on creating in-country capacity so that IBJ’s presence is not needed indefinitely. To this end, we support local lawyers’ initiatives that strengthen their own ability to lead and create innovative social reforms.
Our pilot DRCs are proof-of-concept models. IBJ believes that once the efficacy of early-access to counsel is proven, local governments will see that rule-of-law has an economic benefit that greatly exceeds the cost of legal aid.
IBJ’s eLearning programs are a low-cost alternative to in-person training events. Once an eLearning module is created and launched, it may be viewed by thousands of lawyers.


In recent years, 93 of 113 developing countries that practice torture have taken a strong stance in favor of human rights by signing international conventions and adopting domestic laws that safeguard the rights of ordinary citizens. Unfortunately, many of these laws remain unenforced due to a lack of trained lawyers, awareness, and resources. These critical gaps have allowed torture to continue unchecked as the cheapest form of investigation.
Traditional human rights organizations focus on fact-finding and after-the-fact prosecution. History is now begging the human rights movement to assert itself more aggressively. We can and must work to stop these abuses before they occur.
That’s where IBJ comes in. For more than ten years, IBJ’s innovation has been persuading police and justice officials to provide the accused with access to lawyers as early in the legal process as possible. With this model, IBJ has proven that defense attorneys, trained and provided with the appropriate support, are the key to unlocking the full potential of the human rights revolution that the world has witnessed this year.


All IBJ programs are designed to be elastic and scalable so that they can easily be duplicated in other parts of the world.
IBJ’s in-country programs are built around the Defender Resource Center, a scalable version of a legal aid office that provides support for lawyers, directly takes high-impact cases and conducts roundtable events and rights awareness campaigns. This model is replicated through our Country Fellows program and has been succesfully implemented in Burundi, Cambodia, China, India, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.
IBJ’s eLearning program is highly scalable, reaching thousands of lawyers at a low cost through our Legal Training Resource Center as well as our Criminal Defense Wiki.

Source of funding

IBJ is funded through of grants from private foundations, governments, and international organizations, financial and in-kind donations from private individuals and law firms, and social activism awards.

CHF 9,000 Goal
CHF 9,170 Raised
CHF 50 – CHF 200
This project is closed!