What good is the law, if it does not ensure justice?

21.08.2019

Denis von der Weid is the founder and president of the Antenna Foundation, which has been supporting TRIAL International for many years. He is passionate about human rights, believing that innovation must help everyone, not a privileged minority.

Denis von der Weid, founder and president of the Antenna Foundation. ©Antenna Foundation

“I created the Antenna Foundation in 1989 on the basis of a shocking fact: 80% of the technologies developed only benefit 10% of the world’s population. Why is this? How have we reached a situation where innovation is at the service of futility and commercial gain, instead of developing research which would help ensure a dignified life for all?

The mandate of the Antenna Foundation is to encourage the development of concrete tools which improve the daily lives of the most disadvantaged, such as chlorination to make water drinkable or disinfect it, or the Argemone, a medicinal plant to treat malaria. We carry out as much research as we do application and distribution on the ground.”

Access to justice is one of the fundamental rights

“We support TRIAL International because we have the same vision of human rights. We want them to be effective and embodied. Law cannot remain declarative, beautiful words on paper which do not materialise in a concrete way in people’s lives. It must ensure the dignity of every individual. There must be access to food, water, health, education… and, of course, justice.

The action taken by TRIAL International is crucial, as it forces governments to react. Ratifying texts without enforcing them is just as sterile as developing technologies which only benefit a privileged minority. In both cases, millions of people continue living in deplorable conditions.

What good is the law, if it does not ensure justice? Many other organisations should carry out the same work, so that all laws inscribed in the major international conventions are reflected in their actions.”

Human rights in the digital age

“I see a close link between fundamental rights and new technologies related to basic needs. In this area, there is unexplored potential, including in the search for evidence. The creative use of technologies is, in my view, an area to develop at TRIAL International.

Innovative initiatives, such as the development of audio-visual evidence for trials in the DRC, are only the first step. The most important thing is that these precedents are made available to the greatest number possible. Technology should be accessible by all, for all, so that marginal success can become a driver of change on a large scale.

When everyone has the concrete means, including in a technological sense, of asserting their rights, we will have met our goal. Patience, patience!”

Find out more about the Antenna Foundation