On May 14, 2014, the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) launched the Barry Metzger Rule of Law Initiative at the law offices of Baker & McKenzie in Washington, DC. The initiative is designed to respect the humanitarian and legal values that PTF founder and board member Barry Metzger promoted throughout his life by promoting systems of justice that recognize individual rights, equality, dignity, and respect for all before the law.
“Our focus is bottom up, not top down. Our goal is to empower citizens to demand more accountable and honest government. Ultimately, change has to come from within a country through the persistent demands of its citizens,” said Daniel Ritchie, PTF Board Member and friend of Barry Metzger.
Through the program, PTF will support citizen-led action in developing countries to make governments transparent, accountable and free of corruption by strengthening civil society institutions and developing the next generation of leaders. Projects supported under the Metzger Initiative will receive a small grant, capacity development, and opportunities to exchange experiences and learn from best practices.
“Every grant we make is guided and monitored by a senior volunteer project adviser, helping CSOs shape projects and follow them to completion. We estimate that for every dollar we make in grants we provide one dollar of free technical assistance by an experienced adviser,” said Ritchie.
The first project supported under the Metzger Initiative will focus on developing a regional network for trial monitoring in corruption cases in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Serbian civil society organization, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) will establish the network by partnering with the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, with branches in Croatia and Bosnia.
The project represents an innovative approach towards enhancing the application of the rule of law for the participating countries by sharing information and experience across borders. It also aims to strengthen application of the rule of law, in part through training, to engage practitioners and citizens in raising demand for a strengthened judiciary in countries with historically weak systems of justice.
In remarks delivered at the event, Baker & McKenzie partner Richard Dean reflected on Barry Metzger’s professionalism and passion for justice. Mrs. Metzger expressed appreciation that her late husband’s name would be connected with such a worthwhile endeavor. Representative of PTF welcomed law firms, NGOs, government agencies and representative from private sector to carry on Mr. Metzger’s legacy by joining the Initiative to help inform, guide and support citizen-led efforts to strengthen the rule of law. PTF is also seeking financial partnerships to directly support citizens in their pursuit of good governance.