President George Vella said the synergy that has been created over the past 10 years since the foundation of The International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law (IIJ) in Malta, is a powerful force for positive and collective change, as it recognises that addressing transnational threats to our security can only be sustainably addressed through a cooperative approach and that no single country can effectively tackle challenges in isolation.
Gregory LoGerfo, Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Department of State, thanked President George Vella for supporting the IIJ since its inception.
“You’ve been a stalwart leader and played a key role in founding the IIJ in Malta in 2014,” said Gregory LoGerfo as he acknowledged that both Malta and the USA continue to work together to counter terrorism.
Speaking during a conference celebrating a decade of the Institute’s commitment to justice, human rights, and the rule of law, President Vella recalled the fundamental role played by the former US Ambassador to Malta, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley and the late Ambassador and true visionary Alfred Zarb, to set up this permanent institution in Malta.
“It gives me great satisfaction to see that the IIJ membership, partnership and activities expanded in no small measure since its launch in Malta in 2014, when as Minister for Foreign Affairs, I agreed to host this prestigious Institute in Malta. Following some weeks of all-encompassing negotiations, on behalf of the Government of Malta, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I had the pleasure of launching the IIJ on 18 June 2014 together with another 13 founding partners,” said President Vella.
The President of Malta said that through its hands-on projects and collaboration with leading institutions, the IIJ has tackled some of the most pressing transnational issues facing the global community today in a timely and impactful manner, including homegrown terrorism to countering racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism.
President Vella referred to the Institute as a highly-respected hub of knowledge and innovation that transcends borders. He stressed that the Institute is contributing tangibly to the development and strengthening of criminal justice practitioners and in today’s troubled scenario, it created a forum for exchange of good practices to counter terrorism and other transnational criminal activities within a rule of law framework in compliance with internationally recognised human rights standards.
“This kind of horizontal cooperation between institutions is a very good example of effective multilateralism that Malta has always actively supported and actively promoted on its very own soil and in all the international fora in which we participated,” said President George Vella.
Looking ahead, President Vella said that the Institute is well-positioned to lead the way and play an important role in addressing emerging threats in the face of a deteriorating geopolitical and security landscape.
Steven Hill, Executive Secretary of the IIJ commended the President and the Government of Malta for their support towards the Institute which has accumulated more than 9,000 alumni from 130 countries.