by Ryan Persaud, President, uOttawa ICJC Students' Chapter
On October 27, 2015, I, along with 107 lawyers, judges and law students attended the International Commission of Jurists Canada fundraiser event for Bill Browder, author of the acclaimed novel, “Red Notice.” This true story details the corruption and cronyism of Putin’s Russia, a system that callously took the life of Mr. Browder’s lawyer and close friend, Sergei Magnitsky. Since then, Mr. Browder has travelled the world seeking justice for his friend and in doing so, has directly taken on one of the most powerful authoritarian regimes in the world. Mr. Browder’s story highlights the power of the individual, sticking by one’s principles, and the human cost of seemingly larger than life political issues.
Mr. Browder is a deeply compelling speaker, full of wit and humour, and his story is deeply poignant as well. The question period was brilliantly moderated by the Hon. Ian Binnie, former Supreme Court of Canada justice. Both in his presentation and the question period Mr. Browder reminded of us of how fragile the rule of law truly is and how greed, power, and corruption are constant threats to it. And, on an even more human level, he reminded us what can happen when the rule of law is not respected, and of the lives that are so frequently lost, including those of lawyers such as his courageous lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The ICJC has been dedicated to pursuit of justice and promotion of human rights through engaging national and international legal systems for over five decades. In our globalized world, where businesses, communities, and friendships consistently cross borders, realizing these goals is more important now than ever before.
Eight law students from the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto were able to attend this interesting and enlightening event due to the generosity of Mr. Charles Coffey, who donated a table so that the students could attend free of charge. We are greatly appreciative of his kindness and generosity.