Aaron Schildhaus has long been a champion of human rights and the “rule of law”. Throughout his professional career, he has spent countless hours raising the consciousness of the profession relative to these related topics. For over twenty years, he has been a member of the International Human Rights Law Committee. He is also a member of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section of the American Bar Association and has worked closely with them and the ABA Center for Human Rights to support lawyers and the just rule of law around the world in many countries with Rule of Law Letters from the ABA, and also, on a variety of projects, including the one described in the following paragraph.


Supported by more than 100 bars and associations of lawyers around the world, In New York City, on November 12, 2008, Mr. Schildhaus chaired the ABA Conference celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, entitled “The Role of the Lawyer in Promoting Human Rights and the “Just Rule of Law”. The event was the first in a trilogy of celebratory events chaired by Mr. Schildhaus. The second, sponsored by the Paris Bar (Ordre des Avocats de Paris), took place in Paris on December 6, 2008, and the third was held on June 19, 2009 in Rome, sponsored by the Italian Bar (Consiglio Nazionale Forenze).


As Chair of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, Mr. Schildhaus continuously stressed the critical role of the lawyer in defending human rights and the rule of law. He has often been a speaker on panels and programs dealing with the just rule of law and human rights. While a member of the planning committee for the joint ABA/IBA Rule of Law Symposium held in Chicago in 2006, Mr. Schildhaus coined the phrase “just rule of law”. Since that time, he has spoken frequently on the subject. In November in New York, he spoke about the “just rule of law” at the celebratory full-day seminar for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

He spoke again in Paris at the December 6th Paris Rentree seminar on the UDHR, again as the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting in Lagos of the Nigerian Bar Association dinner on December 19, 2008, where he was subsequently quoted and featured on the cover of the Nigerian Bar’s magazine. The theme was the “Just Rule of Law in Times of Economic Uncertainty”. He presented papers on the just rule of law in many other venues, including Rome on June 19, 2009. A paper based on his Lagos presentation was published in the “Rule of Law Papers” issue of The International Lawyer in Spring, 2009.


Mr. Schildhaus has been a long-time supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC), leading an international delegation of lawyers there in September, 2008, and meeting with the President and other judges and prosecutors of the ICC, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Ruanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Cambodia War Crimes Tribunal. He appointed a special, blue-ribbon Task Force on the ICC in 2008, and is a permanent member thereof. He is in the forefront of the ABA’s efforts for US ratification of the Rome Treaty. He has been one of the leaders in supporting the International Criminal Bar on behalf of ABA International, and has met with ICC and ICB leaders on various occasions in The Hague, in New York, and in other venues.


Mr. Schildhaus led the International Legal Exchange (ILEX) delegation to India in January, 2009 (Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi). Following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai several weeks earlier, the Just Rule of Law was an important topic of discussion. Mr. Schildhaus spoke often in public for a during the ILEX trip about the importance of the Just Rule of Law. In Berlin, at the annual meeting of the German Federal Bar, in September, 2009, Mr. Schildhaus gave a paper on the role of bar associations in promulgating the Rule of Law, and on the ABA Rule of Law Initiative.