Bolivia: Attorney General’s office

The ILBF’s first ever shipment to Bolivia succeeded because of an exceptional collaboration with multiple partners. Sea freight is generally more economical and arguably less carbon emitting than air freight, but it is not without its challenges, especially when the ultimate destination is land-locked like Bolivia.

The ILBF was delighted to receive an application for books from Dr Wilfredo Chavez, Attorney General of Bolivia on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office in La Paz. The Attorney General is working hard to rebuild and expand the resources available to lawyers and researchers, so the donation of 37 boxes of international law, history and political science books from Brill in the Netherlands together with 3 boxes of law books collected and packed by law students at the University of Nottingham was the perfect content.

Once the books from Brill had arrived in London, the next step was to pack them up ready for shipping which the team at Clifford Chance in London carried out with their customary efficiency.

A grant from the Anglo American and De Beers’ Ambassadors for Good programme funded the shipping from London to La Paz. The books travelled by sea freight via Valparaiso in Chile, but it was the final leg of the journey to La Paz that presented numerous challenges. Fortunately, the determination and good will of Dr Chavez meant that the obstacles were overcome and the months’ long process to clear the books and make the final part of the journey was successfully completed in March 2023. The ILBF is hugely grateful to Dr Chavez for his commitment and perseverance in overcoming the difficulties faced.

Throughout the whole process from the application through to the successful arrival in La Paz, Franz Zubieta Mariscal, our special collaborator in Bolivia, and an International Dispute Resolution Counsel and Lecturer in International Law, graduate of the Bolivian Diplomatic Academy, was by our side to assist, culminating in the organisation of an official handover of the books on 22 March at the Attorney General’s Office in La Paz. The handover was live streamed on Facebook and was a wonderful opportunity for Katrina Crossley, CEO of the ILBF, to officially handover the books and publicly thank all of the partners in the shipment, and especially Dr Chavez. You can watch the handover here.

‘It is a great honour to be present at this academic event of substantial significance, taking into account that it began as a talk in The Hague with Dr. Franz Zubieta where we discussed this possibility, and has now turned into something more serious. To deeply thank the foundation directed by Katrina Crossley for the unconditional support given to this initiative from the beginning, for being able to access this donation of the most up-to-date and quality books that we have and that will be incorporated into the Specialized Legal Library of the State Attorney General’s Office. It can be said that with this donation of up-to-date books, our Library will be the most important and a reference at the national level, in relation to International Law, and that will be incorporated into the Specialized Legal Library of the State Attorney General’s office. 

During this time, the Legal Library has been rebuilt in every way, inaugurated through this delivery to the State Attorney General’s Office. It comes at a good time to reinforce our knowledge, which has no borders; this is a message we receive from the “International Law Book Facility”, which has delivered more than 680 books to us.’

Extracts from the speech of Dr Wilfredo Chavez, Attorney General of Bolivia

Dr Wilfredo Chavez, Attorney General of Bolivia, accepting the books from the ILBF, with a display of the donated books from Brill

‘The international legal defence of the state is exercised in unequal conditions because specialized knowledge in international law is produced in English, which is the “lingua franca” of international law and diplomacy. For this reason, the countries of the Global South cannot access updated literature in their language to study new doctrinal trends, current legal discussions, and new jurisprudential trends. Likewise, the awards and sentences of the main courts in the world (ICJ, PCA, ITLOS, etc) issue their decisions in English and French and the countries of the Global South – who suffer its consequences – have serious difficulties assimilating the practical consequences for the defence of their interests. For all these reasons, the work of the ILBF is essential to bridge these gaps. Their work is synthesized in creating bridges of knowledge, breaking material and physical limitations and, above all, putting access to power in the hands of the Academia and legal institutions from the Global South. Therefore allowing them to defend their interests based on the rule of law on the same footing.’

Extracts from the speech of Franz Zubieta Mariscal

‘We are very happy to share that Brill’s ‘Adopt a Library’ program results in yet another fantastic donation. This time to Bolivia!. Brill would like to thank Katrina Crossley and the ILBF for partnering with us and facilitating the successful donation of many print book publications to Bolivia’s Attorney General’s Office and State Law School. During this process several Brill employees carefully selected and packed books on subjects such as African Studies, Asian Studies, History, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, International Law, and International Relations. The ILBF understood Brill’s aim with our Corporate Social Responsibility program well and did a superb job in identifying our partners in Bolivia to receive Brill’s esteemed and high-quality publications.’

From Ekrem Dursun, Print Sales – Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Brill

The official handover ceremony was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the ILBF in the wider Latin American region. Since the handover, there have been expressions of interest in ILBF books from a number of organisations and universities across the region which we hope to progress over the coming months.

Thank you to all of our partners for your contribution to this successful shipment. The power of partnership is undeniable.

Dr Wilfredo Chavez, Attorney General of Bolivia, reviewing the donated books