Rule of Law Day 26 Oct 2023

The Rule of Law Day is set for Thursday, 26 October 2023, at the University of Helsinki's City Centre Campus and will be accessible online. This event is an integral part of the Rule of Law Centre's commitment to fostering dialogue on international development cooperation and rule of law.

Participants will include distinguished experts from the public sector, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions, who will deliberate on the successes and challenges associated with rule of law work.

Whether in person or online, all interested individuals are invited to follow and contribute to the discussions. We value your interest and participation, and we hope to see you at the Rule of Law Day 2023.

Thursday 26 October 2023
The Great Hall, Main Building
Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki. Accessible entrance to the hall from the building's courtyard via the gateway from Yliopistonkatu 2.

There is a limited number of seats available in the Great Hall. Registration via link below.

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony

  • Tuija Brax, Director, Rule of Law Centre
  • Pasi Hellman, Under-Secretary of State, Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
  • Sari Lindblom, Rector, University of Helsinki

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Leo Mechelin Award & Keynote Speech

  • James A. Robinson, Professor, University of Chicago

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break. Participants are welcome to attend a working lunch at the foyer of the Main Building at their own expense. 

1:00–2:00 p.m. Fireside chat: Envisioning Justice: Realizing Human Rights and Equality within the Framework of Rule of Law)

  • Elina Hirvonen, host
  • Elisa Samuel Boerekamp, Director-General, Center for Judicial and Legal Training (CFJJ) in Mozambique
  • Elina Pirjatanniemi, Professor, Åbo Akademi

2:10–3:10 p.m. Fireside chat: Economic stability as a driver for rule of law

  • Elina Hirvonen, host
  • Jaakko Husa, Professor, University of Helsinki
  • Patricia Justino, Deputy Director, UNU-WIDER
  • Jens Hillebrand Pohl, Visiting Research Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

3:20–4:30 p.m. In Finnish: Publication of the Strategy 2024–2027 for the Rule of Law Centre

  • Tuija Brax, Director, Rule of Law Centre

All participants are required to register for the event.

Live Stream
Leo Mechelin Keynote Lecture

In 2022, the Rule of Law Centre, in collaboration with the Leo Mechelin Foundation, announced a new, annual Leo Mechelin Keynote Lecture as part of the Rule of Law Day programme. The Board of the Rule of Law Centre and the Board of the Leo Mechelin Foundation jointly award the Leo Mechelin Medal of Honour to a distinguished proponent of the rule of law and nominate them as the Leo Mechelin Keynote Speaker.

Professor James A. Robinson, a renowned political scientist and economist, is the 2023 recipient of the Leo Mechelin Award for distinguished proponents of the rule of law.

Robinson is widely recognised for his comprehensive research and extensive publications on the underlying factors that contribute to the economic and political disparities among nations. His seminal work, 'Why Nations Fail,' co-authored with Daron Acemoglu, explores the relationship between institutions, political power, and economic inequality, asserting that inclusive political and economic institutions are fundamental for prosperity and the rule of law.

Professor Robinson is known for his continuous efforts to promote good governance, democratic accountability, and inclusive institutions.

Fireside Chat: Envisioning Justice - Realizing Human Rights and Equality within the Framework of Rule of Law

Elisa Samuel Boerekamp, is a High Court Judge and General Director of the Centre for Judicial and Legal Training of Mozambique (Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária). Boerekamp is a powerful advocate for equal rights and opportunities for women judges in Mozambique and beyond.

Elina Pirjatanniemi is Professor of Constitutional and International Law (leave of absence 1.9.2023-31.7.2025), and the Director of the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. She also has the title of docent in criminal law at the University of Turku, Finland.  Currently she is working as Professor of Law, specialization Criminal Law ar Åbo Akademi.  Pirjatanniemi is an expert on human rights, and on the relationship between national and international law. Her current research interests include the interplay between international human rights and national law, as well as the relationship between human rights and environmental protection. During the recent years, she has also done research on asylum law. Pirjatanniemi has good international networks, and she serves at present as the First Vice-President of the Global Campus of Human Rights, which is a global network of universities with a mission to advance human rights and democracy through international cooperation. In addition to her engagement in research and education, Pirjatanniemi is an active social debater and columnist for whom societal interaction is a central part of a researcher's everyday life.

Fireside Chat: Economic stability as a driver for rule of law

Jaakko Husa is professor in Law and Globlisation. He is a leading figure in comparative legal studies, legal globalisation, comparative constitutional studies, and legal linguistics. Research is mostly concentrated on theoretical and methodological issues but also on substantive themes like the rule of law and global constitutionalism. He is a Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and a Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.  

Professor Patricia Justino is a development economist who works at the interface between Development Economics and Political Science. She is a leading expert on political violence and development, and the co-founder and co-director of the Households in Conflict Network. She is currently Deputy Director at UNU-WIDER and Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, UK (on leave).

Jens Hillebrand Pohl is a multidisciplinary legal scholar and political scientist with over 14 years of experience in academia and practice. He is an adjunct professor at Maastricht University and the United Nations University, where he teaches and researches the intersection of law and geoeconomics, legal geography, the (geo)politicization of the legal order, and the (mis)use of the legal system as an instrument of geostrategic power. He is also a doctoral research scientist at Tampere University, where he analyzes lawfare and geo-legal power from a political science perspective.