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Farewell to our Founders

Farewell to our Founders

In 1991, Gene Fidell, along with Kevin Barry, John Jenkins, and Stephen Saltzburg, recognized a need for an efficient professional public interest organization focused on military justice and accordingly founded the National Institute of Military Justice.  In the past two and a half decades, NIMJ has amply filled that role, acting as a voice for progressive change in the military justice system.  This is entirely due to the vision of Gene, Steve, John and Kevin and their energy and commitment to NIMJ’s mission.

Last week, Gene notified us that he would discontinue his service  as a Director for NIMJ. He will remain as the President Emeritus of our organization.  I ask you to join me in recognizing the immense contributions that Gene has made not only to NIMJ but to the improvement of military justice in the United States and around the world.  Gene’s leadership resulted in the groundbreaking Cox Commissions in 2000 and 2009, in innumerable amicus filings on military justice in various courts of appeal world-wide, in professional and expert critiques of the Guantanamo military commissions, and in cogent persuasive comments for the improvement of the Uniform Code of Military Justice over the almost 28 years since Gene and his co-founders created NIMJ to address a pressing need in military justice. Gene was the first President of NIMJ, creating a thriving professional organization, and he subsequently served on our Board of Directors and President Emeritus continuing to provide his energy and dedication to NIMJ.

Gene cannot be replaced, but we hope the energy and the actions of the NIMJ community can continue to fulfill the vision of NIMJ’s founders, and in particular that of Gene, without whom NIMJ would not exist.

NIMJ has also recently said farewell and thank you to Stephen Saltzburg, a co-founder, Director, and longtime General Counsel of NIMJ, and Beth Hillman, our past President, Director, and NIMJ stalwart.  It will be difficult to replace their expertise and contributions to NIMJ. We want to express our  appreciation for their dedication and sustained efforts over the last decades.

Ronald W. Meister, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dru Brenner-Beck, President

Rachel VanLandingham, Vice-President