PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Lease agreement signed between the Government of Malta and the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law

This morning a lease agreement was signed between the Government of Malta and the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law (IIJ). This will lead to the IIJ to move to a permanent home at the Birgu Armoury, built by the Knights of St. John and used for different purposes during the years. The IIJ will move in after the completion of extensive renovations, estimated at millions of euros, the greater part of which is being financed by the United States of America.

The IIJ was conceived during meetings by Ministers and senior officials of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, an organisation of about 40 countries from around the globe.

The lease agreement was signed in the presence of Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr George W. Vella, the Ambassador of the United States of Amerika, Ms Glenna Kathleen Hill and the Ambassador of Turkey, Mr. Reha Keskintepe, by Mr. Robert Srang, Executive Secretary of the IIJ; Mr. Peter Mamo, Director of the Government Property Department on behalf of the Government of Malta and Mr Joe Borg Bartolo, Legal Counsel of the IIJ.

The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law is currently housed at the Valletta Campus of the University of Malta, and was founded in Malta in June 2014 by 12 member states. The IIJ provides rule of law-based training to lawmakers, police, prosecutors, judges, correction officials, and other justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism and related transnational criminal activities within a rule of law framework. More broadly, it works to strengthen criminal justice systems and build regional judicial, police and other criminal justice practitioner networks to promote justice, security, and human rights. The IIJ places a particular focus on countries seeking to develop rule of law-based approaches to addressing security challenges such as terrorism and other transnational criminal activities.

Since its establishment, over 1,000 judges, prosecutors, investigators, parliamentarians, and other criminal justice professionals have participated in over 50 international programs.

After the signing ceremony, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr George W. Vella thanked Ambassador Hill and Ambassador Keskintepe for their continuous support. Minister Vella stated that he was proud to have been involved in bringing such a prestigious institute to Malta and thanked Ambassador Alfred Zarb, who made Malta’s position and interests known to the representatives of the global anti-terrorism forum, and Mr Robert Strang, the Executive Secretary, who ably steered this Institute from its inception.

Mr Strang praised the Government of Malta and Minister Vella for their support in the setting up of the Institute.

On 21 September 2016, Ministers meeting at the Seventh Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Ministerial Plenary Meeting in New York, were presented with the Valletta Recommendations Relating to Contributions by Parliamentarians in Developing an Effective Response to Terrorism.

This document is the result of work undertaken through the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) Programme for Enhancing the Role of Parliamentarians in Building Effective Counter-Terrorism Systems within a Rule of Law Framework. The inaugural workshop of this programme as well as its finalisation was held in Malta, with three regional workshops in Turkey, Morocco and Belgium held in between.

Source: Government of Malta.