Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World. From: Cuomo, Kerry Kennedy. New York: Crown Publishers, 2000 (pp. 126-131)
The combination of the responsibility I was taught in the seminary, which was a responsibility learned through discipline, and the work I was taught at home through freedom, was a wonderful combination.
I wanted to be a missionary, and to work for social justice, for the benefit of other people, but after a time, I realize that I might not be able to cope with all the restrictions of being a priest. So I opted for law instead.
I have received many death threats, but you get used to it. Threats have never changed my mind Despite the pressures, it is very clear to me that I have a job to do. The rest is peripheral. I can't allow these things to change my life. I am voluntarily where I am. These problems are included in the job description.
I accept the responsibilities of my actions. Because what you cannot do is what many people do, you cannot pretend that these problems are not your problems. I believe that a judge must live in society, must deal with the problems in society, and must deal directly with the problems of society, must face them. We have good, strong laws both domestic and international. Yet nobody seems to apply them.
Mass violation of international human rights must be universally persecuted. International human rights have universal jurisdiction. The issue is whether you want to apply international law or not-you can either apply the law or shy away from it.
Being a judge is not a calling; its something much simpler. The only thing is that you just have to do your job right, that's it. If a case comes to you, you can ask some simple questions and apply the law-and you are doing legally what a judge must do.
Courage means to
be honest with yourself and to able to overcome the fear that you have
Perhaps the biggest fear is the fear of making mistakes.
(c)2001, Stanford University