Dr. Sam Muller
As a UN and later ICC official I saw the effects of conflict and wars. These situations show when systems designed to protect human dignity don’t work. Some of what I saw was extreme, I know. But I carry it with me to keep myself focused on what matters: effective justice systems that support human dignity, every day, for everyone. The truth is: they don’t deliver what is needed. The prevention and resolution of justice problems must significantly improve. Justice systems must and can offer much more value than they do now. My father worked on public health systems. They are my example: access to health and the quality of prevention and curing is constantly improving. Access to justice is not. So that is my mission: supporting those that lead and manage justice systems and supporting justice innovators to deliver more and better and, as they do, to make the system itself one that is able to constantly improve and innovate. The movement I am part of calls it people-centred justice.
Sam Muller is the founding director of HiiL. Its mission is to empower 150 million people to prevent or resolve their most pressing justice problems by 2030. An international lawyer by training, Sam works on justice strategy and innovation at the highest political levels, connecting knowledge about needs and what works with change processes that make a difference. The clients he has worked for include governments, international businesses and leading civil society organisations.
Sam also led the setting up of the Justice Leadership Foundation and the Wildlife Justice Commission.
Before his work at HiiL he was closely involved in building the International Criminal Court. He worked as legal adviser at UNRWA and the then newly established ICTY. He holds a law degree and a doctorate from Leiden University and taught there. He has published and spoken extensively on various topics: legal trends and strategy, justice leadership, justice innovation, and international justice issues. Sam has served on many boards. He is currently chair of the supervisory board of World Wildlife Fund – The Netherlands and a member of the International Board of WWF. He was chair of the supervisory board of the Wildlife Justice Commission until September 2021 and board member until April 2022. He served as Senior Adviser to the Task Force on Justice that published a ground-breaking report in July 2019. He was active within the World Economic Forum on the topics of rule of law and justice, chairing two agenda councils. Sam is an alumnus of the Future Leaders Programme of the French Foreign Ministry and of the High-Performance Leadership Programme of the IMD. He is also a facilitator of leadership retreats for the Foundation for Natural Leadership. In November 2022 he was awarded the 2022 Tällberg-SNS-Eliasson Global Leadership Award “for his innovative work in creating and implementing new, concrete concepts and ways of working for law practitioners that focus on solving people’s real needs and thereby reinforce their commitment to democracy.”
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