The global ICJ network was founded in Berlin in 1952.
During its prestigious history, ICJ has received a number of leading international human rights awards and recognitions for its legal contribution to the promotion and development of international human rights standards and practice, including:
- the first European Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe in 1980,
- Wateler Peace Prize by the Carnegie Foundation in 1984,
- Erasmus Prize by the Paremium Erasmianum Foundation in 1989,
- United Nations Award for Human Rights in 1993.
- ICJ was designated in 1987 as a Peace Messenger by the United Nations General Assembly as part of its International Year of Peace.
ICJ Australia was established in 1958, with the organising committee being chaired by the then Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Sir Owen Dixon, OM, GCMG, who became the founding President.
Sir Owen Dixon was succeeded by Mr Edward St. John QC, one time member of the Federal Parliament. He was followed by the Hon. Mr Justice Dennis Mahoney, then a member of the NSW Court of Appeal, who in turn was followed by Mr John Dowd MP, who later retired as President on becoming NSW Opposition Leader.
Mr Dowd was succeeded by Mr. E. G. Whitlam, AC QC, former Prime Minister of Australia. When he was appointed as Ambassador to UNESCO, Mr John Dowd MP was re-elected President, where he remained until his appointment as NSW Attorney General in 1988.
The Hon. Justice Michael Kirby, AC, CMG was then elected ASICJ President. In January 1989, Justice Kirby was also elected to ICJ Geneva’s Executive Committee and in 1992 he was elected that Committee’s Chairman. Finally, in 1995, Justice Kirby was elected President of the world body.