Sovereign Court of International Justice
The Sovereign Court of International Justice (SCIJ) is the “High Court” for human rights and international law cases, operated by the independent Judiciary. It is established as an autonomous official body of the inter-governmental organization (IGO) Ignita Veritas United (IVU), which serves as the host institution providing supporting infrastructure.
The key word “Sovereign”, historically used to mean the highest powers and authorities of a royal kingdom, can be difficult to translate in some languages. Its meaning is a combination of its synonyms, “supreme” and “independent”, with the added meaning that it holds “diplomatic status”. Judiciary supremacy with independence and inherent diplomatic status is only possible as an inter-governmental organization (IGO), which by force of international law holds “supra-governmental” authorities, at a higher level of law above individual countries.
Therefore, the best translation of the name of the Court is “Supreme Court of International Justice”. The Court is named “Sovereign” to emphasize the supra-governmental supremacy of the independent Judiciary profession, protected by law against interference or undue influence from any governments, with inter-governmental diplomatic status supporting its enforcement powers as a Court of Law for international Justice.
The Sovereign Court (SCIJ) was strategically founded to inherently possess statutory powers and authorities under conventional international law, thereby having official status to assert binding universal jurisdiction, to adjudicate and enforce matters involving governments and state officials of all countries. (Details in Legal Authorities section.)
The Sovereign Court (SCIJ) is dedicated to promoting access to Justice, as one of the most fundamental human rights in customary international law, including: The right to “fair and equal access to justice” (UN Right to a Remedy for Human Rights, Articles 2(b), 3(c), 11(a), 12), including through “intergovernmental organizations” at the supra-governmental “international level” (UN Right to Protect Human Rights, Articles 1, 5), providing “access to justice” through “accessible formal procedures” of “customary justice”, to “minimize inconvenience”, “protect from intimidation” and “avoid unnecessary delay” (UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice, Articles 4, 5, 6, 7).
The general operations of the Court by the independent Judiciary upholding international law are supported by the Crown Institute of Law and Justice (Law Faculty) of Ignita Veritas University.
All net proceeds from the Government Court Division of SCIJ and the Arbitration Court (ACIJ) are used to fund the non-profit operations of the Human Rights Court Division, through the Public Access to Justice Endowment (PAJE) Fund.
Unique Judiciary Culture as a Next-Generation Court
The Sovereign Court (SCIJ) is a traditional yet next-generation Court of Law, operated by the independent Judiciary profession. This gives it a unique and distinctive character, embodying positive humanitarian values, and providing innovative practical solutions to modern challenges, to restore public confidence in the principles of Justice and the Rule of Law.
As a modern trend, State Courts increasingly operated by politically appointed Judges and driven by political agendas, often issue cursory judgments which do not explain their reasoning, or fail to address what the law actually says. This degenerative practice conceals many errors of fact, law or logic from scrutiny, making rulings appear subjective and superficial. The Sovereign Court (SCIJ) restores and firmly applies the time-tested solution to this compelling need:
The most essential role and fundamental obligation of a Court of Law, without which it cannot be properly called a Court of Law, is the strict scholarly discipline of applying the law to the facts as established by the evidence, and issuing a written judicial opinion transparently documenting those bases for each and every judgment. This doctrine is enshrined in the SCIJ Rules of Court, making it a traditional Court of classical jurisprudence, thereby upholding the integrity of the independent Judiciary, and restoring public confidence in the principles of true Justice.
All judgments issued by the Sovereign Court (SCIJ) are based upon the logical, objective, methodical and direct application of relevant rules of law to the verifiable facts of each case as established by the evidence. In all cases, the Court issues a proper and traditional judgment, consisting of a written judicial opinion, declaring the conclusions of fact-finding, with reference to the determinative evidence, citing sources for all rules of law, and explaining the basis and reasoning for the end result of the judgment. This makes all judgments self-contained as “self-proving”, proving what the law is, and proving that its results are correct under law.
Human Rights Court Division – Individual & Private Claims
The Sovereign Court (SCIJ), by its official status with inherent statutory authority of supra-governmental universal jurisdiction, is empowered to effectively prosecute claims by private individuals and organizations against country governments, state agencies and officials, and issue judgments which are binding and enforceable against all parties found to be guilty of human rights violations.
Small states which are not United Nations members, although holding sovereignty under international law, have been excluded from the international forums, and thus deprived of access to Justice to protect the human rights of their people. The universal jurisdiction of the SCIJ is well suited to upholding the rights of small developing nation states which are “sovereign subjects of international law”, but do not have access to any of the treaty-based Courts.
The specialized areas of expertise needed for effectively handling human rights matters and related enforcement are supported by the Crown Institute of Geopolitics and Diplomacy (Diplomatic Academy) of Ignita Veritas University.
SCIJ can only process human rights cases within the non-profit budgets available through grass-roots fundraising and private donations from the general public. While a strong level of operations is already provided for, SCIJ is currently not yet ready to open its claims process to the public. Presently, SCIJ may select representative claims of serious cases on key points of international law, based upon recommendation and referral from human rights organizations.
IVU continues developing the infrastructure and expanding the capabilities of the Sovereign Court (SCIJ), as a priority non-profit humanitarian project. SCIJ hopes to open the Human Rights division of the Court to process claims from the general public as soon as possible, subject only to a sufficient endowment level of non-profit funding.
All countries, organizations and citizens, who value the Rule of Law and human rights, are encouraged to make fully tax deductible non-profit donations to this extremely important humanitarian project of global significance.
Government Court Division – Official Court for Nation States
The Sovereign Court of International Justice (SCIJ), inherently possessing official statutory authority of supra-governmental universal jurisdiction, can adjudicate cases involving country governments, state agencies and officials, also including non-territorial sovereign subjects of international law, which are otherwise denied access to the treaty-based Courts. This capability is provided through the Government Court Division.
Through its Government Court Division, the Sovereign Court (SCIJ) can also serve as an authorized official “Court of Record”, by appointment from any nation state, indigenous government or sovereign subject of international law which chooses to delegate its relevant Judiciary functions to the Court as a government contractor.
The Government Court Division is well suited to meeting the needs of small developing nation states, indigenous states, sovereign Royal Houses or chivalric Orders, or other entities which are sovereign subjects of international law possessing statehood, which do not wish to establish their own Judiciary and Court system to enforce their sovereign laws.
Indigenous governments or historical institutions which traditionally possess sovereignty of statehood retain such status by “customary international law” (UN Diplomatic Relations, Preamble, Article 47.1; UN Consular Relations, Preamble; UN Immunities of States, Preamble: ¶5; UN Law of Treaties, Preamble, Article 38). Such status as a sovereign “subject of international law” is binding upon all countries regardless of recognition (UN Law of Treaties, Articles 3, 38), and inherently possesses diplomatic and consular relations (UN Consular, Articles 3, 1(d), 17.1) including as a non-territorial state (UN Diplomatic, Articles 1(i), 3.1(a)).
The specialized areas of expertise needed for effectively handling matters of historical customary law for sovereign historical institutions are supported by the Academy of History & Culture (History Faculty) of Ignita Veritas University.
The Government Court Division, as an independent Judiciary institution, is solely responsible for the interpretation, application, adjudication and enforcement of the sovereign laws of each participating government. It is also empowered to conduct official investigation and prosecution of violations of such sovereign laws. All petitions, motions, responses and evidence are filed directly and independently with the Court.
In relation to applying the laws of a participating government, all findings, orders and judgments issued by the Court carry full weight of sovereign authority as official governmental determinations under international law.
Indigenous Rights Division – Claims for Indigenous Peoples
The fundamental principles of human rights recognized as international law equally protect the needs of indigenous peoples, whose rights were infringed for many centuries by dominating countries. Unique aspects of these same rights, involving indigenous cultures as an important part of the collective heritage of humanity through cultural diversity in civilization, are further established in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The effective application of human rights law to indigenous peoples in practice requires more specific knowledge of cultural and national history, particular aspects of certain national laws, and the participation of lawyers and Judges having professional experience with supporting indigenous rights.
The Indigenous Rights Division serves as the dedicated part of the Court which concentrates on the rights of indigenous peoples, as a distinct area of human rights law. This better empowers individuals, tribes or nations of indigenous peoples to bring claims against country governments, state agencies and officials under international law.
The specialized areas of expertise needed for effectively adjudicating historically based claims for indigenous peoples are supported by the Academy of History & Culture (History Faculty) of Ignita Veritas University.
Structure of Chambers of the Sovereign Court
The primary functions of the Sovereign Court (SCIJ) are provided by its Chambers as autonomous subdivisions. The Chambers are managed by their respective Chancellors, and may be represented by separate or additional special Chancellors. While Chancellors may issue or sign official acts of the Chambers, they generally do not preside over the adjudication of any individual cases. The Supreme Chancellor is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all Chancellors of the Chambers of the Court.
Chamber of Instruction Judges
The Chamber of Instruction Judges conducts impartial investigation of plaintiff or victim claims to the Court, or of judiciary inquiries upon the initiative of the Court, as an official fact-finding process to establish the determinative facts and evidence in a case.
Instruction Judges are special Officers of the Court, empowered with Judiciary authority. The investigating Instruction Judges can be qualified lawyers, or can be “lay judges” (UN Independence of Judiciary, Preamble: ¶10) who are professional law enforcement or forensic investigators, trained in the legal rules of evidence.
Based upon the investigative facts and evidence, the Chamber of Instruction Judges then assigns a Judge-Advocate for each of the current or potential parties to a case, to develop the most relevant legal arguments pertinent to both sides of the case. The Judge-Advocates must be qualified legal professionals possessing a law degree, who fulfill the necessary functions under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers for the defense.
The result is to provide an effective Judiciary “discovery” process, including the use of Subpoenas, empowering the Court to establish facts and evidence possessed by defendants or third parties, which are not available to a claimant. This also provides balance and fairness, protecting parties on both sides who may have insufficient legal representation, reducing or eliminating the costs of legal process related to lawyers and law firms.
Based upon the findings of the Instruction Judges and Judge-Advocates, the Chamber of Instruction Judges then makes recommendations to the Chamber of Prosecutors and Chamber of Presiding Judges in each case.
Chamber of Prosecutors
The Chamber of Prosecutors is used only for cases which may involve criminal components or touch upon principles of criminal law, generally cases involving violations of human rights or international law. This Chamber also handles the application of criminal laws of sovereign nation-states which have delegated jurisdiction to SCIJ under its Government Court Division.
The Prosecutors must be qualified legal professionals possessing a law degree, with experience in litigation or law enforcement, who fulfill the functions and obligations under the UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors in presenting and substantiating any criminal charges.
Based upon the evidence and recommendations provided by the Chamber of Instruction Judges, the Chamber of Prosecutors explores or develops potential charges in criminal matters, and exercises its own prosecutorial discretion whether or not to bring charges, by referring the case to the Chamber of Presiding Judges.
Chamber of Presiding Judges
The Chamber of Presiding Judges performs the primary courtroom tribunal function, for the conduct of hearings, the adjudication of cases, and the enforcement of applicable laws within the international universal jurisdiction of the Court.
The Presiding Judges must be qualified legal professionals possessing a law degree, with experience in litigation, courtroom practice, governmental prosecutions, or Judiciary administration. They exercise all official powers and responsibilities of the Court, under the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary.
Based upon the recommendations from the Chamber of Instruction Judges in all cases, and a referral of charges brought by the Chamber of Prosecutors in criminal cases, the Chamber of Presiding Judges conducts the hearings and trial proceedings as the official tribunal. Any presentations by Prosecutors are counterbalanced by a Judge-Advocate for the defense.
The Chamber of Presiding Judges strictly applies the law to the facts as established by the evidence. It then issues a scholarly formal judgment, in the form of a written judicial opinion, presenting all determinative findings of fact and evidence, and explaining the resulting legal reasoning for rulings on legal facts.
Chamber of Compliance Judges
The Chamber of Compliance Judges is dedicated to enforcement of Court Orders and the collection of Judgment Awards, primarily by active facilitation with government agencies. Compliance Judges conduct monitoring, tracking and support of implementation measures taken by relevant country authorities, to ensure “compliance” in fulfillment of the binding obligations of states under international law, and to ensure that all authorities who are in a position to enforce Court Orders are fully aware of their mandatory legal obligations to do so.
Compliance Judges are special Officers of the Court, empowered with Judiciary authority. The enforcement Compliance Judges can be qualified lawyers, or can be “lay judges” (UN Independence of Judiciary, Preamble: ¶10) with professional experience in law enforcement, security, governmental affairs, lobbying, or civil rights advocacy, trained in the relevant laws and legal mechanisms used for enforcement.
Operations of the Chamber of Compliance Judges include routinely serving government officials with Court Orders for enforcement, registering judgments domestically, and filing liens and credit reports in all jurisdictions related to a violating person or entity.
Compliance Judges can refer any situations of “non-compliance” to the Chamber of Presiding Judges, to issue corrective or clarifying Court Orders, or to issue any needed Contempt of Court Orders, carrying penalties against any governmental agencies or officials which are not cooperative with the official Judiciary enforcement measures.
Overview of Fundraising and Resulting Impact
The Board of Trustees of Ignita Veritas University has donated several millions of dollars over 10 years, to develop the programs, infrastructure, licenses, legal authorities and official capabilities of its inter-governmental organization (IGO) institutions, including the Sovereign Court of International Justice (SCIJ). At this stage, to launch active public operations for real-world impact, it is necessary for the humanitarian missions to be funded by the general public, through non-profit donations.
This promotes an independent Legal profession, empowering lawyers to freely and aggressively oppose human rights violations, without undue influence or interference by governments. It also strengthens the authority of the independent Judiciary profession, for Judges to fully enforce human rights against any and all violating countries.
Therefore, general operations alone, regardless of processing actual cases, has major humanitarian impact worldwide, restoring access to genuine and effective legal representation of people’s rights, and advancing access to real Justice for meaningful enforcement of human rights. This is also the best way to recruit active volunteers for the Court to process several strategically important cases each year.
Maintaining a basic level of general operations, to support the part-time volunteer work of Judges and Court officers through centralized coordination of a network of volunteers, requires non-profit funding of $150,000 for a full year. This also allows to process 3 judicial cases during that year (more than the UN “ICC” or “ICJ” courts), subject to availability of volunteers. (This could be accomplished by a membership group or network audience of 1,500 humanitarians donating $100 each.)
Conducting full-scale Judiciary operations has an average cost of double the expenses for general operations. Each institutional grant of $300,000 ensures the full-time work of one leading Judge with a team of dedicated support staff, for a full year, allowing to actively process 10 judicial cases in that year. (This could be accomplished by a membership group or network audience of 3,000 humanitarians donating $100 each.)
On a larger scale, an institutional grant of $3.0 million can provide full-time work of 10 leading Judges, each with a team of dedicated support staff, for a full year, actively processing 100 judicial cases in that year. That would give SCIJ the highest capacity, to fully and properly adjudicate more human rights cases than all UN and EU courts combined. (This could be accomplished by a movement of social media groups or a network of membership groups of 30,000 humanitarians donating $100 each.)
Accordingly, each grant of $30,000 can proportionally sustain five weeks of full-scale Judiciary operations under one leading Judge, processing one landmark human rights case complete with judgment and enforcement orders.
Each judgment which is officially issued has a uniquely expanded scope of mass social impact, adding greater weight for amplified effect. A special power of wider impact comes from establishing a legal precedent reasserting the rule of law, and a deterrent to violators by demonstrating consequences under law.
Judgments are a tangible and visible result, which serve as a prominent weapon of human rights activists and advocates, giving an official act as a legal fact, to cite, quote, display, distribute, point to, and hold in hand, to compel government respect for rights, and to raise public awareness in defense of rights. They also provide necessary vindication to recover from defamatory persecution, and can even establish legal grounds for asylum, for the primary victims, and for thousands of others with similar human rights cases.
European Court of Human Rights data (2011) shows that 98% of all ECHR cases are refused or dismissed without due consideration, indicating that every Judgment upholding rights represents about 50 similar cases filed which are not processed. With the worldwide caseload (by territory and population) approximately 3 times higher, every one Judgment represents an estimated 150 similar cases which would be filed. American Bar Association data (2002) shows that less than 2% of cases (including civil rights claims) are filed in federal courts (ABA Litigation Journal 2004, Vol.30, No.2, p.2), such that every case which would be filed represents another 50 similar cases which are never filed in any Court.
Therefore, every judgment issued for one fully processed human rights case represents an estimated total of at least 7,500 similar cases of human rights violations worldwide.
Accordingly, every $30,000 grant to process one case actually benefits 7,500 victims of similar human rights cases, and proportionately, every $100 donation substantially restores the human rights of at least 25 people, meaningfully improving their lives.