Achieving a just, democratic, peaceful and humane society through upholding human rights and the rule of law.


Upcoming Events

Child Rights: Camps, Cages, Walls and Wire

The International Commission of Jurists (Victoria) and Deakin Law School are holding an upcoming panel of experts to discuss the growing concern that children’s rights have been lost in the miasma of political rhetoric.

When: 5.30pm Wednesday 16 October
Location: Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins Square, Collins Street, Melbourne
Register here.

ICJV Deakin1

ICJV Deakin2

2019 Annual Fundraising Dinner

Join us at this year’s fundraising dinner to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Ian Henderson, former ABC Newsreader, will lead a panel that includes Michele O’Neil, ACTU President; Felicity Broughton, Deputy Chief Magistrate; and Fiona McLeod S.C, Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Diversity Council.

The tickets can be booked online at:


Wednesday 11 September 2019, 5.30pm for 6.30pm
RACV City Club, Pavillion Room
501 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Tickets available now:
Tables for 10 – $1600
Members – $170
Non-Members – $180



Myanmar: when will the transition begin?

Professor Chris Sidoti
Date: Tuesday 4 June
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Where: Melbourne Law School, Room 920, Level 9, 185 Pelham St, Carlton, VIC 3053
Register: click here

Myanmar is said to have begun its transition from a military dictatorship to democracy following the adoption of a new constitution in 2008. But do events since then justify the view that a democratic transition is underway?

On 24 March 2017, in response to allegations of massive human rights violations by Burmese military and security forces, the UN Human Rights Council formed an independent fact finding missions to establish the facts and circumstances in Myanmar. The investigation encompassed allegations of arbitrary detention, torture and inhumane treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property. On 18 September 2018, the Fact Finding Mission released its full report. On 14 March 2019, it announced an initiative for new investigations.

Chris Sidoti will discuss Myanmar’s transition in the context of his work as a member of United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar.


Professor Sidoti is a human rights lawyer, advocate and teacher. He is currently adjunct professor at the Australian Catholic University. His many previous roles in the field of human rights in Australia and internationally include the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Australian Law Reform Commissioner, Foundation Director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Director of the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, and many others.

Venue Details:
Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law
Melbourne Law School | The University of Melbourne
T: +61 3 8344 8957 | E:
W: | W (Law School):

CPD: Emergency Medical Transfers from Nauru and Manus Island

The International Commission of Jurists (Victoria) is pleased to announce an upcoming CPD event.

The discussion will focus on the extraordinary story of how medical transfer cases were coordinated in the Federal Court, utilising a number of firms of solicitors and counsel, acting pro bono. The panel will also discuss the legal issues involved, and the lessons learned from the process. Of particular interest will be an update post 2 March 2019, when the Medivac Bill which came into force.

When: 5.30-6.30pm, 17 April 2019

Where: Russell Kennedy Lawyers, Level 12, 469 La Trobe Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000


The panellists will include:


David Burke – David Burke joined the Human Rights Law Centre in 2018, working primarily to protect the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum. He also coordinates the HRLC’s vital pro bono relationships with a number of Australia’s leading law firms. Prior to joining the HRLC, David was a lawyer at Lander & Rogers, where he founded and coordinated the firm’s Asylum Seeker Pro Bono Program.


Arti Chetty – Arti is a Senior Associate at Russell Kennedy. She has extensive experience working in refugee and migration law at all stages of the visa process, including representing people seeking asylum and refugees before delegates of the Minister for Home Affairs, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and in the Federal Circuit Court for judicial review matters.


Matthew Albert – Matthew practices in commercial, industrial and public law. He advises and acts in commercial disputes including contract, consumer, building and construction law. He recently won the John Gibson Award for contributions to human rights. Specifically, acting pro bono in multiple cases in the Federal and High Court concerning the urgent medical transfers of detained children to Australia for medical treatment.


Guy Gilbert SC – Guy is a member of the Victorian Bar and practices in commercial, employment, criminal and administrative law. He has extensive experience in the Federal Court, the Federal Circuit Court and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. He chairs the Migration Law Bar Association and the International Commission of Jurists (Victoria).

Kids Behind Barbed Wire


30 years after launching the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are being held in appalling conditions in military detention in Palestine, behind wire in Mexico, on Manus and Nauru as part of Australia’s offshore processing policy and in a prison condemned for adult occupation in the NT of Australia. Children with mental disabilities suffer doubly in custody and in institutional care.

This panel session by the International Commission of Jurists (Victoria), in conjunction with the Deakin Law School, brings together global experts in person, online and by video to highlight the growing concern that the rights of children have been lost in the miasma of political rhetoric.

Our panel will answer questions on their experience of the practical and legal issues in their roles attempting to find dignity and respect for children subjected to the harshest of treatment. Panellists will be:

Gerard Horton – former Sydney barrister and co-founder of Military Court Watch, an NGO that monitors the detention and prosecution of children by the Israeli military.

Matthew Albert – Melbourne barrister, winner of the John Gibson Award for contributions to human rights and pro bono advocate in multiple cases in the Federal and High Court concerning the urgent medical transfers of detained children to Australia for medical treatment.

John Lawrence QC – Darwin barrister and campaigner for the rights of Aboriginal children in detention in the Northern Territory.

Dr Oliver Lewis – former Executive Director of the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC), an NGO in Budapest working for the rights of people with disabilities and mental health issues in Europe and Africa, and Professor of Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds.

Julie Gilbert Rosicky – Executive Director International Social Service, USA.

Cassandra Seery – an Associste Lecturer at Deakin Law School specialising in child rights and policy and a former member of the Victorian public service, where she led the vulnerable children portfolio in Aboriginal Affairs and specialised in other related portfolio areas, including multicultural affairs, family violence and youth justice.

The panel will be coordinated and hosted by Professor Felicity Gerry QC and Campbell Thomson.

When: Thursday 21 March, 6pm

Where: Deakin Downtown 727 Collins Square, Collins Street, Melbourne

Register Your Attendance:

2018 Bar Reader’s Welcome Breakfast

ICJ Victoria are pleased to host a Welcome Breakfast for the 2018 ICJV Bar Reader, Ms. Ranitha Gnanarajah.

Join us for breakfast to welcome Ranitha to Melbourne!


8am, Tuesday 4 September 2018
Essoign Club
Level One, Owen Dixon Chambers East
205 William Street, Melbourne

A light breakfast will be supplied.  All ICJ Victoria friends and supporters welcome.

RSVP by 31 August to

Annual Fundraising Dinner

Annual Fundraising Dinner 2018

ICJ Victoria is pleased to announce that the Annual Fundraising Dinner will feature keynote speaker Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and Brian Nankervis as Master of Ceremonies.

Professor Croucher holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Sydney. Prior to joining the Commission, Rosalind was President of the Australian Law Reform Commission (2009–2017) and Commissioner (2006–2009), where she led a number of significant law reform inquiries.

Brian Nankervis is a writer, actor, radio host, television producer and comedian. He is known for his appearances in Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Hessie’s Shed, Introducing Gary Petty, and Let the Blood Run Free. In 2005, Nankervis co-created the SBS music trivia game show RocKwiz, which he also appears in alongside Julia Zemiro.


Tuesday 16 October 2018 at 5.30 for 6.30pm
RACV City Club, Pavilion Room, Level 2
501 Bourke Street, Melbourne


Early bird sales (until 1 September 2018) are italicised.

ICJV Members: $170 / $160
Non-members: $180 / 170
Table of 10: $1600 / $1500


The Human Rights of LGBT People in Prison

There has been growing international interest on LGBT people in criminal justice systems. In Victoria, there is little information as to the unique mental health issues, physical risks, prejudices and obstacles they might face.

Join the International Commission of Jurists Victoria (ICJV) to discuss this issue as compared to international human rights frameworks, current scholarship on the issue, and advances made in Victoria and similar jurisdictions. This event will feature a panel made up of individuals working in Victoria’s criminal justice system, as well as advocates of the LGBT community. The objective of the event is to educate, inform and encourage future consideration of the issue.


– Anna Brown, Legal Advocacy Director, Human Rights Law Centre
– Ro Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality
– Brenda Appleton, Chair, TransgenderVictoria
– Brendan Money, Director of Sentencing Management, Corrections Victoria

Panel Chair: Professor Ian Malkin, Melbourne Law School

Time: 6.30-7:30 PM with refreshments to follow
Date: Tuesday 15 May 2018
Location: Maddocks (25/727 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000)

Download ICJ(Vic) Law Week Flyer 

Sean Bain: ICJ Report from Myanmar

The International Commission of Jurists (Victoria) is pleased to invite its members and subscribers to an exclusive dialogue.

In recent years, Myanmar first opened itself to the world through the promotion of democracy, and then shocked the world by committing crimes against humanity against the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi, First State Counsellor of Myanmar, has become the symbol of the country’s disappointed democratic and liberal ambitions. However, the situation is more complex and nuanced than what appears at first glance.

The International Commission of Jurists Asia-Pacific has played an active role in promoting the rule of law and advocating for the protection of human rights through the development of an independent judiciary in Myanmar.

Join ICJV this Thursday, 3 May, to hear from Sean Bain, International Legal Advisor for Myanmar, discuss the current situation of rule of law and human rights in Myanmar, and what Australia and the international community should be doing to alleviate the crisis.

5:30 – 6:15 PM
Thursday, 3 May 2018
Neil Forsyth Room
Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East

This dialogue will consist of a 20 minute presentation followed by a 25 minute Q&A.

Read Sean’s piece, Rohingya Crisis Demands Australian Leadership on Human Rights.

Read more about ICJs work on the situation in Myanmar.

unnamed (2)

The Honourable Geoff Eames Speaks on Democracy in Nauru

The Australian Government cannot stand mute while democracy collapses on Nauru.

In June 2015, the President, Baron Waqa, had 19 members of the Opposition arrested and jailed after they staged a peaceful protest outside Parliament. Four pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison terms by the local Magistrate. The Government appealed the sentences and the Nauruan Supreme Court judge more than doubled the sentences. The jailed politicians appealed to the Australian High Court which found the the judge was wrong. The Government’s response was to abolish the treaty, which made the High Court Nauru’s final court of appeal. The 19 politicians in Opposition are now denied recourse to an appeal court. The Australian Government, which needs the continued co-operation of the Nauru Government to maintain its off-shore refugee detention centre, has failed to respond to the President’s abuses of his power. The Nauruan people deserve to be known for more than refugees and corruption. We call our Government to call Nauru to account for its failure to uphold to the principles of democracy and rule of law.

On 19 April 2018, the Hon Geoff Eames, a former Nauru Chief Justice, spoke on on the subject for ICJV.

A copy of the speech, ‘Nauru abandons High Court appeals: Is this a threat to the rule of law?’ can be found here: Nauru abandons High Court appeals

unnamed (1)

unnamed (3)

unnamed (4)

unnamed (5)

unnamed (6)

unnamed (7)

unnamed (8)

unnamed (10)

Attached is a link to a recent, helpful journalist’s report of the history of the conflict. Read the report here.

CPD Series – Prosecuting War Crimes in Sierra Leone – Lesley Taylor QC

ICJ (Victoria) and the Criminal Bar Association invite you to join Lesley Taylor QC as she discusses war crime trials over breakfast at the Essoign Club. Lesley Taylor QC was Senior Trial Counsel prosecuting war crimes at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. She has also been Senior Legal Advisor for UNHCR on Commissions of Inquiry into Timor L’este and Southern Kyrgyzstan. Lesley will discuss how International Criminal Courts are set up and operate. She will explain the particular issues she faced running successful prosecutions in Freetown after the decade long conflict in Sierra Leone. She will advise how Australian lawyers can get involved in international criminal and humanitarian law.

A continental breakfast will be provided to attendees.

This seminar is a component of the Victorian Bar CPD Program and will carry one CPD point.

Date: 22 March 2018
Time: 8.00 am
Location: The Essoign Club, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne
Admission Free

CPD Series – Felicity Gerry QC

On 27 February 2018, Felicity Gerry QC, who led the defence team in R v Jogee, will be discussing the consequences of this judgment for Australia, Hong Kong, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The seminar will be held in the Neil McPhee Room, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East and will commence at 5.15pm.

This seminar is a component of the Victorian Bar CPD Program and will carry one CPD point.

Download the Event Flyer Here

Community Opening of the Legal Year 2018

Community Opening of the Legal Year

ICJ Victoria are pleased to announce the Community Opening of the Legal Year will be held on 5 February 2018. Our guest speakers will be the Head Judge of the Koori Court, Judge Paul Grant, and Lidia Thorpe MP.

Other highlights will be an acoustic performance from Kutcha Edwards, spoken word poetry from VMC Youth Commissioner Sukjhit Kaur Khalsa, speeches by students from the Skyline Education Foundation, the presentation of the John Gibson Human Rights Award, and music from BottledSnail Productions.

A light morning tea will be supplied by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

9.30-11am, 5 February 2018
Waldron Hall, County Court of Victoria
RSVP by 31 January 2018 at: