On 16 May 2017, the IRZ celebrated its 25th anniversary at a ceremony held at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV). Around 250 people from Germany and abroad took part in the celebrations, by invitation of Minister Heiko Maas.

Christian Lange, parliamentary Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and Vice-President of the IRZ, opened the celebrations in the courtyard of the Ministry. During his speech, Christian Lange emphasised the global importance of law and justice and noted that freedom, peace and prosperity can only exist in a state governed by the rule of law. This is precisely where the tasks of the IRZ lie – in supporting the development of democratic states under the rule of law – and has become active in almost 30 states since its foundation in 1992.

During his welcome address, the President of the IRZ, Dr. Jörg Freiherr von Fürstenwerth, outlined the tasks and challenges involved in international legal cooperation, which the IRZ has had to face and overcome, against the backdrop of historical events in the year the IRZ was founded. Afterwards, the Managing Director of the IRZ, Veronika Keller-Engels, talked about the many years of intensive and trusting cooperation with the partner states, in which many representatives of IRZ member associations and other experts have played an important role. She thanked all the experts for their involvement and all members and supporters for their constant support for the work of the IRZ.

In his subsequent keynote speech, Christoph Flügge, a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, outlined the fundamental considerations in the struggle for the state governed by the rule of law amongst IRZ partner states and elaborated with details of his personal experience gained during many years of involvement in international legal cooperation. Christoph Flügge painted a very vivid picture of the work of the IRZ and of what has been achieved so far and, at the same time, pointed out the new tasks and challenges in new partner regions.