Friday, December 9, 2022

Judge Rafael Altamira and the Centenary of his appointment in The Hague

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On the occasion of the tribute to Judge Rafael Altamira (1921) for the centenary of his appointment as Judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice in The Hague, the Embassy of Spain in The Hague and the Hispanic Association of The Hague organized the lecture “Rafael Altamira, a civilizer among civilizers at the Permanent Court of International Justice” by Yolanda Gamarra Chopo, Professor of International Public Law and International Relations at the University of Zaragoza.

Professor Gamarra Chopo, was part of a group of researchers from several universities in Spain and other European countries, who began working on a joint research project years ago on the ideological roots of the European parties, where Judge Altamira stands out as a key figure.

Edith Bergansius and attendees to the lecture “Rafael Altamira, a civilizer among civilizers at the Permanent Court of International Justice”

The conference brought together international jurists of the stature of H.E. Mr. Philippe Couvreur, former Registrar of the International Court of Justice, ambassadors, such as  Ambassador and Costa Rican jurist H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro and jurist Renan Villacis, Director of the Secretariat of the Assembly, at the International Criminal Court, among many other diplomats, jurists and legal historians from Spain and Latin America who filled the main hall of the Carlton Ambassador Hotel in The Hague on Thursday, September 29, 2022.

He was the only Spanish judge chosen by the same body to be part of the International Court of Human Rights in The Hague, not by assignment of a position by country, but for his long career in defense of equality and human rights.  He was not a judge, nor an internationalist, but a professor of History of Law, which brought a different vision to the Court.

Although he lacked experience as a judge, he brought to the Tribunal a new perspective on dispute resolution, introducing arbitration as a means of conflict resolution. He also implemented the language and conceptualization of his own training: social justice, the dignity of individuals and the recognition of individual rights as opposed to the sovereignty of countries, the contribution of jurisprudence as a source in the Tribunal, regeneration, morality and common principles as the basis of the solution.

Professor Gamarra Chopo.

In her extensive lecture, Yolanda Gamarra Chopo emphasized the legal conscience of Judge Altamira, his character, his humility, his vocation for peace, his defense of arbitration in the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the Hague Tribunal. Altamira’s work still dispersed among the many academic activities he carried out and his constant travels around the world,

Edith Bergansius, President of the Hispanic Association of The Hague, who organizes important academic and cultural activities, presented Yolanda Gamarra Chopo as passionate of Altamira’s life and one of his most faithful scholars. Ms Bergansius thanks the Embassy of Spain and Luis Tejero González, Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in The Hague, for their Support in the organization of this event, 

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