José Igreja Matos is the first Portuguese to chair the largest such international organisation. He was previously IAJ vice-president and has also been president of the European Association of Judges.
José Igreja Matos has been elected president of the International Association of Judges (IAJ) at the annual meeting of the organisation, according to an announcement on its official website.
In the election, which took place on Saturday in an online meeting of the association’s Central Council, Igreja Matos was elected by acclamation to serve as president – the first Portuguese to chair the largest such international organisation. He was previously IAJ vice-president and has also been president of the European Association of Judges since 2016.
“It is an immense honour to be elected president of the International Association of Judges,” he wrote in a post on the social media site, Twitter. “I would like to dedicate my election to the women judges of Afghanistan. Observing, with horror, the attacks on our colleagues, the rest, all the rest, simply becomes of no importance.”
In his message to the organisation, Igreja Matos said that “Rule of Law is now more endangered than ever in several regions of the globe” and that the IAJ will continue to be “on the front-line of this battle to uphold an independent judiciary.”
The Portuguese judge also promised to pay particular attention to “international cooperation, judicial integrity, diversity and gender” and “continuing to expand our organization, providing geographical growth and investing in regions and countries not yet covered by our activities.”
The International Association of Judges was founded in Austria in 1953, with the aim of promoting the values of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. It is made up of judicial associations from 94 countries on five continents.
José Igreja Matos has been a judge since 1990 and was promoted to the Court of Appeal of Porto in 2012.
In 2011 the Portuguese judges’ union, the ASJP, appointed him as its representative to the IAJ.