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The World Court of Human Rights will provide a forum for the adjudication of individual claims,
and of class action claims, arising out of large-scale human rights abuses. It will be the first judicial
system to do so at the global level, and will positively impact the lives of millions and millions
of the world’s most vulnerable persons.

Declare Your Support for the WCHR
The Role and Jurisdiction of a World Court of Human Rights

The World Court of Human Rights (the Court, or the WCHR) is designed to adjudicate selected, qualifying, human rights cases in which judicial review is sought by affected individuals, or classes of individuals, who are found by the Court to have standing. The cases which are accepted for adjudication by the Court will be decided, in part, in accordance with the United Nations human rights-related conventions, and their case law, all of which have evolved from the United Nations’ December 10, 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The cases before the Court will also be adjudicated in accordance with the broader body of regional human rights conventions, and their case law, and in accordance with generally accepted human rights custom, practice, jurisprudence and scholarship. The work of the Court will create a consistent and comprehensive body of substantive human rights law, through a uniform and efficient global judicial process. In so doing, the WCHR will promote worldwide awareness of, respect for, and compliance with, the ever-evolving “world law” of human rights.

A Brief History of the Project to date

Peace and human rights activist Garry Davis was one of its most active promoters, beginning soon after the end of World War II. Disillusioned by the role that he had played as a United States bomber pilot, he renounced his United States citizenship in 1948, and devoted the last 65 years of his life advocating for a “world without borders,” arguing that it is the existence of nation-states that makes war possible. He was widely recognized as “World Citizen No. 1,” and he lived out his days, until age 91, engaged in the struggle for world government, out of his modest home in South Burlington, Vermont. His obituary is one of the very few that have run on the front page of the New York Times. Garry, and a Chicago-based international human rights lawyer, Luis Kutner, produced a rough draft of a statute for a court that proposed to adjudicate matters of “world law.” Their vision was arguably naive from the standpoint of public international law, because there is (as yet) no fully-functioning world government, and therefore, no legislatively-mandated “world law.” That said, there is a growing body of public international law that is evolving from the increasing proliferation of bilateral and multilateral treaties which can credibly be argued to constitute an incipient body of world law. As Garry confronted his final battle with cancer, he asked Burlington, Vermont attorney, Mark Oettinger, who had been appointed by the United States District Court in 2000 to represent Garry in a prosecution that had arisen out of one of Garry’s many acts of civil disobedience, to travel to India in order to participate in the annual meeting of the world’s Chief Justices. Mark should advance, he said, his vision of a “World Court.” Mark agreed to go, albeit with an agenda limited to advancing the World Court of Human Rights.

With this background, Mark Oettinger attended the 14th annual meeting the World Chief Justices, in Lucknow, India, held in December, 2013. The goal of the trip was to propose to the Chief Justices that, if they thought the project worthy, that he, with the support of the World Service Authority (the Washington DC-based NGO that Garry had created in 1954, and that remains active to this day) would assemble a high-level committee of experts on public international law, human rights law, and judicial systems, to produce a proposed Statute for a World Court of Human Rights. The Chief Justices’ reaction was 100% enthusiastic, and so, while essentially “between jobs,” Mark spent the first several months of 2014 researching and drafting, with input from a series of online meetings of the committee of experts, the proposed Statute of the World Court of Human Rights. Because the Chief Justices meet annually in Lucknow, India, we deemed the proposed Statute, “The Treaty of Lucknow,” although there is reportedly an earlier treaty dealing with the Northern border of India that may bear the same name.

To draft the Treaty, we assembled a Design Team, convened a series of video conferences, and conducted four months of essentially full-time research, in order produce the present draft. The Design Team was composed of a mixture of judges, lawyers, academics, practitioners and nonprofits. We used the statutes and practices of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), as guidance. The structures and missions of each of these bodies is different, but each sheds light on the requirements, demands and limitations of the characteristics of a “supranational” court that would be necessary to accomplish the envisioned objectives.

The video conferences were recorded and archived. Samples can be found on the Archived Meetings page of our website:

The proposed Statute is clearly susceptible of improvement. We therefore encourage all interested parties to explore the many international human rights resources that have been assembled on our website (and elsewhere), to watch the archived meetings of the Design Team, and to post comments and suggestions through the interactive Comments page of the website. All comments are gratefully considered, and responses are promptly responded to, by the Design Team. Several improvements to the Statute have been the result of reader input.

At the plenary session of the 15th annual World Chief Justice meeting, in December 2014, Mark Oettinger reported on the Design Team’s work, and distributed the draft Statute to the conference attendees. At the conclusion of the conference, the World Chief Justices issued a unanimous Resolution which provided, inter alia, that, “The Heads of State/Government of all countries be urged…to hold a high level meeting to deliberate on the measures required for creating…a World Court of Human Rights…”

The full text of the Chief Justices’ Resolution can be found at the following link:

In January 2015, representatives of the Design Team traveled to New York City, to begin the process of advancing the Treaty of Lucknow through the United Nations’ treaty accession process. Then, in March 2015, representatives of the Design Team traveled to Washington DC to meet with key US Congressional delegations, and leading NGOs in the field of international human rights. We informed them of our work, and we solicited their support for advancing the World Court of Human Rights.

Mark Oettinger returned to the 16th annual meeting of the World Chief Justices in October 2015. The support of the Chief Justices was undimmed, and the work of the Design Team was heralded as the most concrete outcome of the two prior conference-concluding resolutions. That said, since a country’s accession to a treaty depends upon the willingness of the executive branch to initiate it, and typically, its legislative branch to confirm it, the support of the country’s judiciary is helpful, but it is in no way sufficient to ensure the country’s accession to the treaty. In addition, and disappointingly, we found no examples of chief justices who could report significant success in their overtures to their countries’ chief executives. Understandably, there is an entirely appropriate propensity for judges to eschew interaction with the executive and legislative branches, due to traditional principles of separation of powers.

Frequently Asked Questions

The strong view of the Design Team is, “No.” This is not to take anything away from the ICJ, which is a vibrant, important and effective “supranational” court which adjudicates disputes which are, in the vast majority of cases, between and among nation states which agree to submit their disputes to the ICJ. What the ICJ lacks, for the most part, is a venue for affected individuals, or more importantly, classes of individuals (an example…6 million Syrian refugees) within which they can obtain judicial review of their currently-transpiring human rights violations, and through the WCHR process, receive a meaningful and timely remedy.

The United Nations’ Third and Sixth Committees are the venues in which proposed treaties dealing with issues of human rights, and with the related legal questions, are debated and implemented. In short, these are the venues in which the world’s 193 United Nations member-states come together to incubate human rights conventions. One shining example is the land mine treaty, championed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jodie Williams. Within this structure, we endeavor to have those committees debate and refine the Treaty of Lucknow, and to encourage United Nations member states to adopt it, thereby implementing the World Court of Human Rights.

In accordance with general principles of public international law, it is fundamental that a treaty, when adopted in accordance the signatory nation’s treaty accession process, becomes that nation’s “domestic (i.e., national) law,” fully enforceable by that nation’s domestic courts. An additional insight into this question was offered by Chief Justice Carl Ashok Singh, of Guyana, at the 2013 Chief Justice conference in Lucknow. His observation was roughly as follows: “Just because a decision of a Court is not 100% enforceable, does not mean that it is worthless.” This point is echoed by officials of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other human rights NGOs. Even though the world is still comprised of nation-states, and probably always will and should be, their national laws are constantly becoming more informed and inhabited by the growing body of public international law. This is, in part, a byproduct of nation-states’ ever-increasing accession to treaties, and is in part a byproduct of the growing body of case law that emanates from the related judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, as they apply treaty-derived law to the cases before them. In addition, in an increasingly interconnected world, where news travels faster and (for the most part) more freely all the time, “public shaming” is a powerful force in educating the public and impacting the political process.

The ICC and the proposed WCHR perform entirely different functions. The ICC’s narrow mission is to prosecute individuals (typically, former heads of state) for their roles in war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The impact, if the ICC is successful, is the criminal punishment of a single individual. Without diminishing this worthy goal, the mission of the WCHR is far broader, and holds the potential of having a far more impactful outcome for enormous groups of individuals whose human rights are being denied as a result of conditions that violate universally recognized human rights norms.

The realization of a treaty through the United Nations process occurs in a manner that is essentially analogous to the way in which legislation is enacted in a state or national legislative body. Bills (or treaties) are introduced by sponsors, and are taken up by the committees which have jurisdiction over the relevant subject matter. The more numerous the sponsors, and the more influential, the greater the likelihood that a particular bill (or treaty) will become law. Proposed treaties are to the United Nations what bills are to a state or federal legislative body. The present stage of our work is to mobilize a critical mass of nation-state sponsors to debate the Treaty of Lucknow in the context of the United Nations Third and Sixth Committee processes. The Chief Justices have pledged to urge their national chief executives to do so.

In part because we are physically located in the United States, one of our early focuses was to get the support of the United States executive branch. In addition, because the Chief Justices meet annually in India, another of our initial focuses was to get the support of the Indian executive branch. Both the United States and India have long-standing commitments to the protection of international human rights. In addition, the 2015 meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi seemed to set the stage for historic cooperation in this arena. For these reasons, the WCHR Development Project named an Indian Country Director, Vishal Bhatnagar, and an Indian Student Director, Neel Lohit Pandy, who have helped to spread the word throughout certain key constituencies, and to the public in general.

Will India Agree To Be A Lead Sponsor?

In December 2014, on Mark Oettinger’s second trip to the meeting of the World Chief Justices in Lucknow, India, he met a thirty-something graduate of City Montessori School, a “favorite son,” a truly inspirational speaker, and therefore, a regular presenter at the Chief Justice Conferences. At that time, he was stationed at the Indian Mission to the United Nations, in New York City. He was enthused by the idea of a WCHR, and he invited members of the WCHR Development Project to visit him at the Indian Mission in New York, where he proposed to introduce us to his colleague who staffs the Third Committee for the Mission. We did that, and were again enthusiastically received. They welcomed the prospect of advancing the Treaty of Lucknow in the Third Committee, “As soon as we receive instructions from Delhi that we should do so.” This prompted us to explore potential inroads to Prime Minister Modi himself.

The out-of-pocket expenses for each of the three Lucknow trips were paid by the World Service Authority (WSA), a Washington DC-based NGO that was established by Garry Davis in the 1950s. WSA’s mission is to provide free legal assistance to refugees and stateless individuals, and to advance peace through supporting the creation of global governmental structures. Since 1992, David Gallup has been its General Counsel, and since 1999, its President. Its home office at 5 Thomas Circle, in Washington DC, is widely (and deservedly) viewed by WSA’s countless supporters, as something of a world heritage site. WSA paid for Mark Oettinger’s flights and visa. His accommodations in Lucknow were kindly provided by the host City Montessori School at one of its two “guest houses” for visiting faculty and conferences attendees. WSA also hired a well-known Indian filmmaker, Senthil Bala Kumar, to document the trips. This Southern Indian, US-educated filmmaker, also served as Mark’s cultural guide, interpreter and companion throughout each of his three stays in Lucknow.

One of the annual evening social events at the Chief Justice Conference was an invitation to the compound of Akhilesh Yadav, the “Chief Minister” of Uttar Pradesh, for dinner and cultural performances. The Chief Minister was in his early 40s, and has movie star good looks. Uttar Pradesh (commonly known as “UP”), the “state” of which Lucknow is the capital city, is the largest of India’s 29 states, and has a population of 200,000,000. Yes, you read that right. If it were a country unto itself, it would be the 6th most populous country in the world. While making small talk on our first visit, it came out that the Chief Minister and our filmmaker/colleague are alumni of the same university, and when the conversation turned to film-making, the Chief Minister beamed, offered Senthil his card, and said that the two had to talk about making Lucknow the next Bollywood city in India. A potentially important bond had been made.

Senthil, as it turns out, also has a somewhat distant familial connection to the Home Minister of India, second in government stature within the country only to the Prime Minister. Still intent upon garnering the support of Prime Minister Modi for the Treaty of Lucknow, we made outreach through our India Country Director to the UP Executive Committee of the BJP, the party of Prime Minister Modi. Through this process, we was able to germinate a dialogue between City Montessori School and Home Minister Singh, which resulted in the Home Minister accepting an invitation to serve as “Chief Guest” for a day at the conference in 2015, where we were able to speak with him briefly, and to give him a package of materials on the World Court of Human Rights. Would the packet possibly find its way into the possession of Prime Minister Modi himself?

In late January 2016, we had a chance to have a wide-ranging two-hour meeting with a former Indian career diplomat and ambassador who knows intimately how the United Nations, and the Third Committee, operate. Much to our surprise, that individual felt that the United States and India are very unlikely to support Third Committee discussion of the Treaty of Lucknow, and suggested instead Senegal, Ghana and Norway, as potential sponsors.

Will the United States Agree To Be A Lead Sponsor?

We visited the Vermont Congressional Delegations in Washington DC in early March, 2015. We had separate meetings with staffers of Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Representative Welch. The Sanders and Welch staffers were pleasant, and promised to pass our information along, but we have not heard anything further. With Senator Leahy’s office, we were fortunate to meet with a very senior staffer whose job focus and content area expertise include both human rights and international relations. He was intrigued intellectually, and he gave us twice the 20 minutes that his schedule had called for, but he had two (paraphrased) blunt assessments: (1) “What aspect of my current assignments can I afford to set aside in order to free up the time necessary to promote the Treaty of Lucknow before the Third Committee?;” and (2) “If the United States House of Representatives won’t support United States membership in the International Criminal Court, what makes you think they would support a World Court of Human Rights?” As mentioned in the Question & Answer section above, there is a clear answer to the second question, which we offered. We also opined that getting the Third Committee process started would not require that much of his time, and that the staff of the Third Committee would be responsible for the process once it was formally “on the Third Committee’s agenda,” per the sponsorship of one or more member nations. He was supportive, he “got it,” and was sympathetic, but he was unable to offer us a path.

How Do We Penetrate the United Nations?

Attempts to access policy-level people at the United States Mission to the United Nations have not been particularly successful to date, notwithstanding Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger’s close personal friendship with then-United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and notwithstanding the fact that she has a deep commitment to the subject of international human rights. Clearly, the United States Mission to the United Nations has to rely on the White House to set its priorities, and must presumably resist the temptation to field ideas from the general public, no matter how worthy. After all, there are plenty of “tin foil hat people” hawking Utopian and futuristic ideas. No, we do not fit that mold, but from the establishment’s perspective, it’s not always easy to tell.
We also tried to have direct interaction with the staff of the Third Committee, but as with the United States Mission, the policymakers are well-shielded, and their mission is to support the member nation-states of the United Nations, and far less so (if at all), to provide a point of access for the public. One thing the Third Committee staff did suggest is that we attempt to advance our Treaty through one or more of the NGOs which are recognized by the Third Committee. In this case, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch come to mind. Interestingly, our retired Indian diplomat, whose views are recounted above, felt that this approach would be ineffectual in getting the Treaty of Lucknow onto the agenda of the Third Committee.

The Role of Funding, and Our Efforts To Date To Secure It

Our efforts to date have been made possible by a serendipitous confluence of events. Garry Davis appeared in Mark Oettinger’s life in 2000, after he flew an “undocumented non-resident alien” into Vermont. She had been living in the United States without immigration status, despite having received work authorization from the City of New York. US immigration authorities had turned her away when she had attempted to reenter the United States after a visit to Canada to purchase bibles for her church group. The local federal judge before whom Garry was brought, with whom Mark had traveled to Russia twice before on rule of law activities, asked Mark to represent Garry in his possible alien smuggling prosecution, and in the already-pending civil forfeiture proceedings regarding his plane. The threatened criminal prosecution was avoided, but Garry could not avoid the civil forfeiture unless he agreed to pay a $300 fine. He refused to pay the fine, because he felt that doing so might negatively impact the woman’s right to remain in the United States, and as a result, he forfeited the plane.
During these proceedings, a bond between Garry and Mark was established that lasted until Garry died in 2013. Mark’s trips to Lucknow in 2013, 2014 and 2015 happened to occur during a time of professional transition for Mark, who was therefore able to devote the significant time that was necessary to lead the design team that drafted the Treaty of Lucknow. The heart of that process occupied roughly the first four months of 2014 full-time.
During that period, Mark was involved in re-establishing his Burlington, Vermont law practice, and as the demands of that practice grew, he still had sufficient time to spearhead the efforts that are described in this article. The World Service Authority paid the out-of-pocket expenses for his trips to India, and for his several trips to New York City and Washington DC. The World Service Authority also gave a modest, but badly needed, amount of “seed money” for us to hire fund-raising consultants to pursue the realistic levels of funds that we believe are needed to create the necessary momentum for the Treaty of Lucknow. Our first fund-raising consultant was attorney/author/activist Charlotte Dennett, of Cambridge, Vermont. We next worked with Paula Cope, of Cope & Associates, a Williston, Vermont-based consulting company. Both Charlotte and Paula gave us far more service than we were able to pay for, which is a reflection of the infectiousness of the mission. As a further incentive for donations, the World Service Authority created the related World Citizenship Foundation, which was awarded 501(c)(3) status in 2015. As a result, donations earmarked for the World Court of Human Rights are now tax deductible. We have met with numerous NGOs, which universally express support for our efforts, but which also understandably have their own financial priorities. We estimate that $500,000 would allow us to create and support an influential Advisory Board, develop broad-based publicity, and enlist the necessary nation state sponsors to catalyze the adoption of the Treaty of Lucknow through the United Nations treaty accession process.

What’s Next?

“Is the World ready for a World Court of Human Rights?” This question was raised by Professor Thomas Buergenthal, when he was first contacted by Mark as he was preparing for his first trip to India in December 2013. Professor Buergenthal literally “wrote the book,” in fact many of them, on the subject of the international protection of human rights, and on public international law generally. Mark came across his name when, in preparation for his first trip to Lucknow, I read Professor Buergenthal’s two “Nutshells” on those topics. Mark told Professor Buergenthal what we were undertaking, and he expressed sincere doubts that we would succeed. That said, he was willing to participate in a fairly lengthy conversation with Mark on a Sunday afternoon, and his insights were extremely helpful in Mark’s planning of the strategy for the Design Team’s efforts.
We did “our thing” for a couple of years, and with the Treaty of Lucknow in what we felt was “good shape,” with some trepidation, Mark sent Professor Buergenthal a copy. His response was roughly, “This is remarkably good…but I’m still not sure that the world is ready for a World Court of Human Rights.” Mark was delighted. He understood what Professor Buergenthal was saying, and to have it come from him was a powerful and satisfying affirmation. As far as the “readiness” question is concerned, those of us who have devoted significant effort to this task believe that the world is ready. And ready or not, there can be no doubt that the desperate need presently exists, and that it would be irresponsible of us not to advance the cause.
We published a slight variant of this article in the Winter 2016-2017 issue of the Vermont Bar Journal, and we believe that by re-publishing in one or more of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section’s specialty publications, The International Law News; and/or The International Lawyer; and/or The Clarion, we will be able to reach a high concentration of experts who are knowledgeable in, and committed to, the field. The ABA may also be interested in having us prepare a webinar for live delivery, which would be archived in its permanent continuing education resources. With the goal of developing such further teaching modules on the World Court of Human Rights, Mark has met with a Burlington, Vermont-based lawyer who has both an interest in human rights law, and facility with Prezi. The idea going forward is to spread the word as broadly as possible. We have never met a single person who believes that the creation of a World Court of Human Rights is a bad idea. Some question the enforceability of its decisions. Others question the willingness of certain countries, or at least certain perceived “critical” countries, to subject their policies and/or actions to the scrutiny of such a court. But…no one questions the value of such a Court.

An Advisory Board

Our colleague at the Indian Mission to the United Nations put us in touch with Jonathan Granoff, Executive Director of the Global Security Institute, who also (in his spare time) curates the meetings of the Nobel Peace Laureates. He has provided us with a long list of globally-influential leaders whom he believes can be counted upon to support the World Court of Human Rights. This list has been combined with the list of individuals (Chief Justices and others) who have been identified by the efforts of the WCHR Development Project to date, and if we can get the funding to take our efforts to the next level, they will all be solicited for the purpose of being included on the list of those who support a WCHR. The list is roughly 50 in number, and includes former heads of state and the most influential academics in the field.

How Stay Informed and Get Involved

First, please visit our website at, and in the process, please read the Treaty of Lucknow by clicking on the “WCHR Statute (Current Draft)” button in the upper left hand corner of each page.

Then, please take our online survey at The survey only takes a few minutes, and in our fund-raising efforts, it is critical that potential donors have a clear picture of the public’s belief in the need for the World Court of Human Rights, and of the commitments of member countries and member judiciaries to the process.

And finally, please submit comments, questions, ideas and suggestions through our website’s Comments page, where visitor input is constantly monitored, and where submissions always receive a timely response. We sincerely value all expressions of interest and support.

The Treaty

Included below are the Index, and the full text, of the Treaty of Lucknow. The Treaty offers panoramic views of the full range of issues that sit at the intersection of supranational courts, public international law, and the protection of human rights. Enjoy, and please participate!



(The Treaty of Lucknow)

The Statute of

The World Court of Human Rights

(The Treaty of Lucknow)






























Article 29 MEDIATION








A. The World Court of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as the Court) shall be established by the Member Nation States, and the Member National Judiciaries, (hereinafter collectively referred to as the Members), through their accession to the Treaty of Lucknow, as follows;

B. A Nation State may become a Member of the Court by following the procedures that exist within its national constitutional and governmental structures, and within its substantive national laws, for the adoption of treaties. Such a Nation State shall become a Member upon the delivery of official notice of accession, according to those principles, to the Clerk of the Court;

C. A National Judiciary may become a Member by majority vote of the Judges and/or Justices of its nation’s highest court or courts. In the case of a National Judiciary which has more than one highest court (that is, a nation whose highest constitutional, civil, criminal, commercial and/or other court systems are not fully unified), the vote of a National Judiciary to become a Member shall be by majority vote of all of the Judges and/or Justices, in the aggregate, of all of the highest courts of that National Judiciary. A vote of a National Judiciary to become a Member shall specify the name and position of the individual who is empowered and directed to to sign the Treaty on behalf of the acceding National Judiciary, and shall affirm that the required vote was conducted. Such a National Judiciary shall become a Member upon the delivery of the required affirmation to the Clerk of the Court;

D. If a Nation State becomes a Member, and its National Judiciary is already a Member, the accession by the Nation State shall supplant the earlier accession by its National Judiciary;

E. A Nation State Member agrees that any decision of the Court affecting that Nation State shall be enforceable in that Nation State, in personam and in rem, in the same manner, and to the same degree, as a final order of the highest court of the Nation State;

F. A National Judiciary Member agrees to facilitate the inbound and outbound communication between the Court and any parties and witnesses to proceedings before the Court who are within the geographical jurisdiction of the National Judiciary Member. This applies to any judgment, order, writ, subpoena, or other official document of the Court. A National Judiciary Member also agrees to encourage all parties and witnesses to proceedings before the Court, who are within its geographical jurisdiction, to cooperate in the proceedings before the Court. That said, a National Judiciary Member also acknowledges that in the absence of its Nation State’s membership, the Treaty of Lucknow does not enjoy the status of domestic law, and therefore cannot be used to affect the substantive due process rights of any party within the geographic jurisdiction of the National Judiciary Member without its express consent or against its will;

G. The Treaty shall come into effect upon the accession of the 10th Member; and

H. The ability of a Nation State Member: (1) to participate in the Council’s deliberations and decision-making; and (2) to participate in the selection of the Justices of the Court, shall be suspended during any period that the Nation State Member is delinquent in the payment of its proportional assessment of the budget of the Court.



A. Each Member shall designate an individual who shall be authorized to cast the Member’s vote on matters relating to the administration of the Court. That Member-designated individual shall be known as a Representative. The Representatives, in the aggregate, shall constitute the Council, and the Council shall administer the Court in a manner that is consistent with the Statute. No individual may serve simultaneously as a Representative and a Justice;

B. Each Representative shall have an equal vote on the Council;

C. Unless the Statute shall elsewhere require a higher percentage vote for a particular purpose, action of the Council shall require a majority vote of the Representatives in attendance at a properly warned meeting of the Council at which a quorum is present. A quorum of the Council shall be a majority of the Representatives. Both the warning and the conducting of meetings of the Council may be accomplished by electronic means. The Council shall meet face-to-face no less frequently than annually;

D. The powers and duties of the Council shall include, but shall not be limited to, establishing the budget of the Court, amending the Statute of the Court in accordance with Article 34, adopting administrative rules for the operation of the Court, and dismissing an individual Justice in accordance with Article 7;

E. The Council shall annually elect a seven-member Executive Committee (hereinafter referred to as the Committee), which shall elect, from among its members, a Chair, a Vice-Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. A single Representative may simultaneously hold both the position of Secretary and the position of Treasurer, but no single Representative may hold other multiple offices of the Committee. Action of the Committee shall require a majority vote of those Committee members in attendance at a properly warned meeting of the Committee at which a quorum is present. A quorum of the Committee shall be five members, and shall include either the Chair or the Vice-Chair. Both the warning and the conducting of meetings of the Committee may be accomplished by electronic means. The Committee shall meet face-to-face no less frequently than quarterly;

F. The operations of the Court shall be facilitated by the Clerk of the Court (hereinafter referred to as the Clerk), who shall serve at the pleasure of the Committee, and who shall implement the policies and procedures that are set by the Council; and

G. The functions of the Council will not infringe upon the judicial independence of the Justices. Any disputed question on this point will be resolved by the Court.



The Court shall be composed of a body of fifteen (15) independent Justices, selected by the Regional Groups (see Article 4), from among persons of the highest moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, and who demonstrate the highest level of intellect, temperament, and competence in international law. The Justices shall serve in their personal capacities, and not as the representatives of the Nation States of which they are citizens. No two Justices may be nationals of the same Nation State.



A. The geographic distribution of the Justices shall be from the following Regional Groups: (i) Four from Asia; (ii) Four from Africa; (iii) Four from the United States, Canada and Europe; and (iv) Three from Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania. A person who, for the purposes of serving as a Justice, could be regarded as a national of more than one nation state shall be deemed to be a citizen of the nation state of which he or she ordinarily exercises civil and political rights;

B. The Justices shall be selected by the Members in their Regional Groups, as set forth in Article 4(A), through such mechanism as each Regional Group shall adopt. The Justices shall be of recognized extraordinary competence in matters of international law. They shall be of the highest moral character, and disposed to accepting the duties of judicial office. Subject to the provisions of Article 5(A), the Justices shall be appointed for terms of nine years, and their appointments shall be renewable. Should a vacancy in the office of a Justice occur prior to the scheduled conclusion of his or her term, the same procedure shall be followed for filling the vacancy as is followed for an initial appointment, and in such a case, the appointment shall be made for the remainder of the unexpired term. Timely notification of all vacancies shall be given to the Council by the Clerk; and

C. In selecting Justices, Regional Groups shall consult with a broad cross-section of their highest legal institutions. The Regional Groups shall select Justices who possess the qualifications required, but they shall also strive to constitute the Court as a whole in a manner that includes representation from all of the legal systems of the world.



A. Of the Justices who are selected at the initial round of selections, the terms of five Justices shall expire at the end of three years, and the terms of five additional Justices shall expire at the end of six years;

B. Justices whose terms are to expire at the end of the above-mentioned initial periods of three and six years shall be chosen by lot, which shall be drawn by the Clerk immediately after all of the initial selections have been completed;

C. If he or she is able to do so, a Justice shall continue to discharge his or her duties until his or her replacement has been named, and until all processes necessary for the appointment of the replacement Justice have been fulfilled. Following replacement, if he or she is able to do so, each Justice shall complete all of the necessary work on all of the cases relative to which he or she began work prior to the expiration of his or her term; and

D. A vacancy in the office of a Justice may occur through the death, resignation, or disability of the Justice. A determination regarding the disability of a Justice shall require the concurrence of no less than ten Justices, and the Justice who is the subject of the disability determination shall be entitled to due process, and shall be entitled to be represented, in all proceedings related to the disability determination. A vacancy in the office of a Justice may also occur as a result of proceedings pursuant to Article 7.



A. A Justice may not exercise any political or administrative function external to the Court, nor may he or she engage in any other outside occupation or profession while serving as a Justice;

B. During his or her term of service on the Court, a Justice may not act, in any way, on behalf of any party, in any case before the Court;

C. A Justice may not participate in the decision of any case in which he or she has previously taken part in any way on behalf of any party, or in which he or she served as a member of an adjudicative body before which any element of the case was considered, or in which he or she has or had any other material personal or professional interest or involvement;

D. Any question regarding this Article shall be settled by the decision of the Court;

E. The members of the Court, when engaged in the work of the Court, shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities; and

F. Prior to commencing his or her duties, each Justice shall make a solemn declaration, in open Court, that he or she will exercise the powers and duties of the office of Justice with impartiality and conscientiousness.



A. No Justice may be dismissed without the unanimous vote of the other Justices, or the three-quarters (3/4) vote of the Council;

B. Prior to a vote under Paragraph A of this Article, any Justice who is the subject of the vote shall have a right to public due process before the full Court, including the right to be represented, and the opportunity to be heard; and

C. In the event that the Court or the Council considers voting to dismiss a Justice, it shall, in advance of such vote, give prompt and formal written notice of the proposed dismissal vote to the Clerk, who shall promptly inform the implicated Justice, who shall have the right to invoke due process rights promptly, if at all. At the conclusion of such due process, and if the dismissal is upheld, the position shall immediately become vacant, and the process of filling the vacant position, in accordance with Article 4, shall be promptly undertaken.



A. The Court shall elect its Officers, including a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, from among the Justices, for terms of three years. The Court’s Officers may be re-elected;

B. The Court shall appoint its Clerk, who shall not be a Justice, and may appoint such other individuals, with responsibilities as may be specified in the Court’s order of appointment, as it believes to be necessary for the proper functioning of the Court; and

C. In the absence of orders of the Court to the contrary, the Clerk shall serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the Court.


Article 9

A. The permanent seat of the Court shall be established at _________. In addition, the Court, and its Panels, may sit at any other location, whenever the Court considers such sessions to be desirable; and

B. The President and the Clerk shall reside at the permanent seat of the Court.



A. The Court shall remain permanently in session, except for such times that the Council may determine;

B. Justices of the Court shall be entitled to periodic leave, the dates and duration of which shall be fixed by the Council, having in mind the distance between the seat of the Court and the home of each Justice; and

C. Justices of the Court shall, unless they are on approved vacation, or unless they are prevented from participating in the Court’s business by illness or other serious reasons, make themselves permanently available for the work of the Court.



A. If a Justice of the Court considers that he or she should not take part in the decision of a particular case, he or she shall so inform the President;

B. If the President considers, sua sponte, that for some particular reason, a Justice of the Court should not sit in a particular case, the President shall give the Justice notice accordingly; and

C. If, in such a case, the Justice involved and the President disagree, the matter shall be decided by the full Court.



The full Court shall sit except when provided otherwise by the Statute. A minimum of nine Justices shall constitute a full Court.



The Court may designate, either at the request of a party, or on its own initiative, a Panel of the Justices, to deal with a part of, or all of, a particular case. Subject to the right of appeal set forth in this Article, any judgment rendered by such a Panel shall be considered as having been rendered by the full Court. If a party is dissatisfied with the decision of a Panel, it may request a review of the Panel’s decision by the full Court. Any such request for full Court review shall be made no later than 30 days after the issuance of the Panel decision of which review is sought.



To the extent that the operations of the Court are not sufficiently prescribed by the Statute, the Court may promulgate Rules for carrying out its operations. The Court shall promulgate Rules of Procedure and Rules of Evidence. All Rules of the Court shall be promulgated by means of a an open process which shall afford the public a meaningful right of input.



A. A Justice of the nationality of a party shall retain his or her right to participate in a case before the Court;

B. If the Justices assigned to a case include a Justice of the nationality of one or more, but not all, of the parties, then each party whose nationality is not represented among the Justices, may choose a person to sit as an Supplementary Justice for that particular case. Supplementary Justices shall be chosen from among persons who have the support of their Regional Group nominating process as provided in Articles 4;

C. If the Justices assigned to a case include no Justice of the nationality of any of the parties, then each of the parties may proceed to choose a Justice as provided in Paragraph B of this Article;

D. The provisions of this Article shall apply to both full Court cases under Article 12, and to Panel cases under Article 13;

E. Justices chosen as set forth in Paragraphs B and C of this Article shall fulfill the conditions required by all Articles of the Statute, and shall take part in the decision on terms of complete equality with their colleagues; and

F. Should there be multiple parties with materially aligned interests, they shall, for the purpose of this Article, be treated by the Court as a single party. Any doubt upon this point shall be resolved by the Court.



A. Each member of the Court shall receive an annual salary set by the Council;

B. The President shall receive a special annual allowance set by the Council;

C. The Vice-President shall receive a special allowance set by the Council for every day on which he or she acts as President;

D. Supplementary Justices chosen under Article 15, who are not full-time Justices, shall receive compensation for each day on which they fulfill their responsibilities, in an amount which shall be determined by the Council;

E. All of these salaries, benefits and reimbursements of the Justices shall be fixed by the Council, and may not be decreased during the Justices’ terms of office;

F. The salary of the Clerk shall be fixed by the Council, with advice of the Justices;

G. Rules made by the Council, with advice of the Court, shall fix the conditions under which other employment benefits may be given to the Justices, and to the Court’s staff, and the conditions under which the Justices and Court staff shall have their travel expenses advanced or reimbursed; and

H. The above salaries, benefits and reimbursements shall be free of all taxation.



The budget of the Court shall be set by the Council, and the operating expenses of the Court shall be borne by each Nation State Member in proportion to its Nation’s gross domestic product.



A. Individuals, or certified classes, or Members, may submit petitions for review to the Court;

B. Subject to limitations regarding standing, and subject to exhaustion of national and regional remedies, the Court shall have subject matter jurisdiction over all aspects of domestic, international and supranational human rights law;

C. The Court, subject to and in conformity with its Rules, may request input from public international organizations whose work is relevant to cases before the Court, and the Court shall consider reviewing such information when it is presented to the Court by such organizations on their own initiative;

D. Whenever the construction of a constituent instrument of a public international organization, or of an international convention adopted thereunder, is in question in a case before the Court, the Clerk shall so notify any and all public international organizations concerned, and shall communicate to it (or them) copies of all relevant documentation;

E. Under appropriate circumstances, intergovernmental agencies may be named as Respondents in proceedings before the Court;

F. The Court, and the Office of the Ombudsman, shall have both documentary and testimonial subpoena power with respect to Members, whether those Members are Nation States or National Judiciaries;

G. In the event of a dispute as to whether the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a particular case, the matter shall be settled by decision of the Court; and

H. The Court shall adjudicate legal questions only, and shall not purport to adjudicate political questions. Any determination as to whether a question is legal in nature (i.e., justiciable), or political in nature (i.e., nonjusticiable), shall be settled by decision of the Court.



A. The Court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question that the Court believes to be worthy of review, and that has been submitted by a party whom the Court deems to have standing;

B. Questions upon which the advisory opinion of the Court is sought shall be presented to the Court by means of a written statement of the question, accompanied by all documents that are believed by the requesting party to be reasonably probative of the question;

C. Upon the Court’s acceptance for review of a petition for an advisory opinion, the Clerk shall forthwith give notice of the petition to all parties whom the Court deems have a material legal interest in the outcome of the decision;

D. The Clerk, after consultation with the Court, shall notify any organizations that might be expected to be able to furnish information probative of the petition, from which the Court is willing to receive, within a specified time limit, written submissions relating to the issues raised;

E. The Court shall provide a balanced opportunity for interested non-party stakeholders to present evidence in open Court regarding the petition;

F. In the exercise of its advisory functions, the Court shall be guided by the provisions of the Statute which apply in contentious cases, to the extent that they are deemed by the Court to be applicable;

G. When a petition for an advisory opinion is received from a non-Member of the Court, and when the Court decides to issue an advisory opinion regarding that petition, the Court may condition the consideration of that Petition on the Petitioner’s payment of a filing fee which shall approximate the expected cost of adjudicating the Petition; and

H. The Court shall issue advisory opinions as to legal questions only, and shall not issue advisory opinions as to political questions. Any determination as to whether a petition for an advisory opinion is legal in nature (i.e., justiciable), or political in nature (i.e., nonjusticiable), shall be settled by decision of the Court.



A. In deciding its cases, the Court shall apply the following substantive law:

(1) Human rights conventions and declarations of which one or more of the parties is a member;

(2) Human rights custom, and generally accepted practice;

(3) General principles of human rights law;

(4) Human rights judicial decisions; and

(5) The teachings and writings of preeminent human rights experts; and

B. This provision shall not limit the power of the Court to decide a case under principles of equity, if the parties consent.



A. Upon receipt for a Petition for Review, the Court will decide whether to grant or deny review based on the following factors:

(1) Is the case within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court?

(2) Have the Petitioners exhausted their national and/or regional remedies, if any?

(3) On the basis of the pleadings, qualitatively, how serious are the alleged deprivations of human rights at the individual level?

(4) On the basis of the pleadings, quantitatively, how wide-spread are the alleged deprivations of human rights?

(5) Without prejudging the case, how strong does the evidence appear to be?

(6) What level of enforceability of the Court’s order could be expected given the treaty-accession and membership status of the parties?

(7) Are the nation state and regional precedents in need of harmonization?

B. A Petition for Review will be granted when five or more Justices of the Court agree that review is warranted under these criteria.



A. When a Petition for Review is submitted on behalf of a proposed class, the Court will grant or deny class action status based upon whether the claims of the proposed class satisfy the following criteria:

(1) The proffered claims of the class have a sufficient degree of commonality, and there are one or more legal or factual claims common to the entire class that predominate over the individual issues;

(2) The proposed representative parties can be relied upon to adequately protect the interests of the class;

(3) The class is sufficiently large that the submission of individual petitions would be impractical, and in terms of judicial economy, a class action, as opposed to numerous individual suits, is a superior way to resolve the cases; and

(4) The claims of the Petitioners are sufficiently typical to make class action certification appropriate;

B. In considering whether to grant class action certification, the Court shall consider whether fundamental human rights, such as access to food, water, shelter, and fundamental health care, and freedom from violence, and credible threats of violence, are implicated; and

C. The Court may consolidate cases, and may recognize class actions on its own initiative.



An individual who credibly asserts, or a group of individuals who credibly assert, that they are being subjected to a material deprivation of human rights, have standing before the Court. When public interest standing is sought, consideration will be given to three factors: (1) Is there a credible allegation of a violation of human rights? (2) Does the Petitioner have a genuine and substantial interest in the alleged deprivation of human rights? (3) Aside from the proposed advocacy by the Petitioner, is there another reasonable and effective means for the affected parties to bring the alleged deprivation before the Court?



A. In determining whether to accept a Petition for Review, the Court shall generally apply the doctrine of exhaustion of remedies. Petitioners, to the extent that it is reasonably feasible, shall exhaust any and all national, regional, and United Nations-based remedies, prior to seeking recourse to the Court. This exhaustion requirement gives the respondent Nation State the first opportunity to correct any alleged harm, and to thereby make redress, thereby achieving the most efficient resolution of the issues; and

B. If there is no domestic, regional, or United Nations-based remedy, or if the Court concludes that requiring the Petitioners to exhaust any such nominal remedies would be ineffectual, then the Court may excuse the exhaustion requirement, or it may deem the exhaustion requirement to have been satisfied. In assessing this issue, the Court may consider the exigency of the Petitioners’ particular circumstances, and the expected length of time that would be necessary in order for the Petitioners to receive consideration of their claims at the national, regional or United Nations level. This exhaustion of remedies requirement will generally require Petitioners to exhaust any and all judicial remedies that may be available to them, but will generally not require that Petitioners exhaust any United Nations-based or other political remedies which might arguably be available to them.



The Court may join third parties, either on its own motion, or on the motion of a party, when the nature of the pending case, and the apparent quality and weight of the potential third-party evidence, convince the Court that the participation of the third party is desirable and appropriate. The Court may also consider evidence and/or argument offered by third parties, either at the request of a third party, or at the request of the Court. In that event, the parties will be afforded the opportunity, subject to reasonable limits set by the Court, to hear such evidence and/or argument, and to cross examine, support, or oppose it through evidence of their own.



The Court may consider evidence offered by expert witnesses, either at the request of a party, or on the Court’s own initiative. The parties will be afforded the opportunity, subject to reasonable limits set by the Court, to hear such evidence, to explore its underlying assumptions, and to support it, oppose it, or otherwise comment on it, through evidence of their own. No expert witness shall participate in the deliberations of the Justices, nor shall he or she have a vote in the outcome of the case.



When a record of previous proceedings is available, the Court will generally limit itself to a review of the record, and will generally accord due deference to findings of fact of the previous proceedings. The Court will generally concern itself exclusively with errors of law, and with circumstances in which there has been a withholding or abuse of discretion in the prior proceedings. Under circumstances in which no record, or an insufficient record, is available, the Court may take evidence.



The Office of the Ombudsman is an independent department of the Court, and its responsibilities shall be exercised without input and/or interference of the Court. The Office of the Ombudsman shall be available to the public, and to potential or actual litigants, for the purpose of optimizing their access to the Court and its systems. When the Court deems that a Petition for Review deserves consideration, but finds that the proposed Petitioner(s) lack representation that is calculated to afford a full and fair representation, the Ombudsman shall be ordered by the Court to represent the interest of the petitioner(s). The Office of the Ombudsman shall also be available to facilitate compliance with orders of the Court.



The Court shall direct the parties to engage in mediation whenever it believes that mediation would be of assistance to the process, and the Ombudsman shall establish a panel of independent mediators who shall be available to offer their services to the parties under such circumstances. The Court shall offer the Mediators regular trainings, both as a condition and a benefit of their service.



The Court is invested with the power to invoke all legal and equitable remedies in connection with its disposition of cases that fall within its subject matter jurisdiction. The Court will not serve as a venue for the consideration or assessment of civil damages, and will not serve as a venue for criminal prosecution. Instead, the Court’s mission shall be to make determinations regarding existing human rights violations, and to issue orders regarding the steps that should be taken, or not taken, in order to bring any violative conditions into compliance with human rights law and practice. Upon proof of the necessary facts, the Court is empowered to issue orders of preliminary relief, including ex parte writs, preliminary injunctions, and permanent injunctions. In the event of an ex parte writ, a prompt opportunity for hearing on notice, with due process, will be afforded to the Respondent, within the earliest practical time frame.



Any Nation State Signatory agrees that the writs, decisions and orders of the Court will be fully enforceable in its domestic courts, in personam and in rem, as would be any analogous domestic writ, decision or order. Any National Judiciary Signatory agrees, to the extent of its juridical authority, that the writs, decisions and orders of the Court will be treated by the National Judiciary as would be any analogous domestic writ, decision or order.



A. The official language of the Court shall be English;

B. With respect to Petitions for Review which are accepted by the Court, the Clerk shall arrange for service of the Petition on all parties whom it deems to be entitled to appear before the Court to be heard in relation to the Petition;

C. The parties shall be represented, whether by private counsel, or by public interest counsel, or by the Ombudsman;

D. The Court shall determine whether the Petition will be heard by the full Court, or by a Panel of the Court, and in the latter case, the Court shall determine the composition of the Panel and the general procedures under which the Petition shall be considered. In fashioning the manner of the disposition of the Petition, the Court may convene a pre-hearing conference, which may result in the issuance by the Court of a pre-hearing order. Pre-hearing conferences may be conducted by means of synchronous virtual meeting technology;

E. In connection with the issuance of a pre-hearing order, the Court shall set the types and extent of discovery that will be permitted during the course of the proceeding. Elements of the discovery stage of the proceeding may include interrogatories, requests to produce, requests to admit, depositions, and/or such other discovery measures as the Court may deem appropriate to the case;

F. The Court may require that the parties submit to Mediation, which process will be administered and facilitated by the Ombudsman;

G. A true and accurate copy of every document submitted to the Court by a party shall be served on all other parties.;

H. The Court shall have the power to issue subpoenas to compel testimony, and to compel the production of documentary evidence, and shall have the power to issue subpoenas for the purpose of allowing the Court’s physical inspection of premises when such inspections are believed by the Court to be probative of the questions raised by the Petition;

I. The Court shall have the authority to issue the traditional writs (including, but not limited to, writs of certiorari, habeas corpus, prohibition, and mandamus) as may be necessary and appropriate to its functions. By joining the herein Treaty, the Members agree that their nations, and their judiciaries, as the case may be, agree to enforce the Court’s writs to the full extent of their authority;

J. The pleadings, the taking of evidence, and the presentation of legal arguments by the parties, shall be public, unless the Court shall decide, on the request of one or more parties, or on its own initiative, and on the basis of compelling evidence, that some or all of the proceedings or evidence should not be open to the public. The Court shall strive to promote public transparency in its proceedings. The deliberations of the Court, however, shall take place in private, and no record of the Court’s deliberations shall be made available to the public;

K. A complete record of all proceedings shall be maintained;

L. All orders of the Court shall set forth the procedural posture of the case, the facts as found, the decisions of the Court, the legal reasoning of the Court’s decision, and the names of the judges who have joined in the decision. If an order of the Court does not represent, in whole or in part, the unanimous opinion of the Justices, any Justice, or any group of Justices, shall be entitled to deliver a separate concurring and/or dissenting opinion. There is no appeal from a final order of the Court, but the Court may clarify and explain any of its orders upon the request of a party; and

M. Unless otherwise decided by the Court, each party shall bear its own costs.



A. A motion for revision or reconsideration of a judgment of the Court may be granted only when it is based upon the raising of a potentially dispositive factor which was unknown to the Court, and unknown to the party seeking revision or reconsideration, when the Petition for Review was initially under consideration by the Court, and only when the moving party’s lack of awareness of the newly-proffered potentially dispositive factor was not due to negligence on the part of the moving party;

B. The application for revision or reconsideration must be made no later than six months after the discovery of the new fact; and

C. No application for revision or reconsideration may be made later than ten years after the date of the Court’s judgment.



A. Amendments to this Statute may be adopted by a three-quarters (3/4) vote of the full number of Members; and

B. The Court shall have power to propose amendments to this Statute through written communications to the Council.

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