Posted by: ajtzotzo | November 22, 2010

First day at the ICJ and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project

By Anne Poulos

Today, my first day at the International Commission of Jurists, was full of introductions.

Firstly, there was an introduced to the to staff of the ICJ and their offices (which are currently undergoing a reconfiguration involving loud construction noise and some controversial undercoats of pink paint). There was also a time consuming and dreaded lunch time journey to the office of  Étrangers et Confédérés to finalise my work permit.

Most importantly there was my introduction to the work of the ICJ. The ICJ is an NGO with a particular focus on law and legal principle in the promotion of human rights. Integral to this is the promotion of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and legal profession. As an organisation it seeks to cultivate legal expertise objectively and authoritatively. It does so through research, advocacy and educational programs.

I will be working on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Project. SOGI is one of a number of thematic international law projects run out of Geneva including the International Economic Relations Project and the Global Security and Rule of Law Initiative (for more information visit

Alli Jernow, senior legal adviser and head of the SOGI project, described the law surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity as a critical yet ‘turbulent’ area in Human Rights law. It is a rapidly developing area of law in which principles of recognition and equality before the law, the right to privacy and freedom from discrimination are paramount. Yet it can also raise incredibly challenging and divisive issues.

As an intern I will be working on a case book of sexual orientation and gender identity related legal decisions from jurisdictions across the globe. This will involve reading and analysing decisions and writing case summaries. The cases encompass issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and range in subject matter from freedom of expression, marriage, decriminalisation and immigration to family rights including adoption. These cases will draw on domestic and comparative law, state constitutions as well as international human right law and will make for interesting reading.

So, after day one, so far so good.


  1. Hey Anne, Sounds amazing! Keep up the blog- trying to navigate the way to mine*) Will start on Monday when I begin the internship. It must be rather cold there. Good luck with everything!


  2. Hi! I worked for Alli over the summer with another intern (Derek), and am still so impressed with her, and with the ICJ. I know she was really excited to be getting a new intern, and it is very cool to see that you have an online blog about the experience. I just want to say good luck and I hope you enjoy the ICJ and all the amazing people there as much as we did!

    • Anna, Hi! I’m impressed that you came across this obscure little blog! I’ve been at the ICJ for a month now and I’m having a very good time! I’m continuing your good work with the casebook along with another intern, Giulia. The plan is to have it drafted by the time our internships are up – We’ll see how that goes!

      We have a joke that now that SOGI has had Derek and Derek and Anna and Anne Alli will have to get another Julia next time.
      Keep in touch,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: