Tuesday, April 10, 2018 3:45 am
The UN on Monday launched an initiative to connect judges around the world so that they can learn from each other about ways to strengthen integrity in courts.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said in a video message to a two-day event in Vienna organised by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to launch the Global Judicial Integrity Network.
Mohammed said the initiative would strengthen courts integrity such as preventing corruption and undue political interference into judicial appointments and decisions, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
“This Network brings together lead institutions responsible for upholding the rule of law, and as such for attaining peace and justice,” she said.
More than 350 high-level members of the judiciary, who gathered for the event, discussed key topics, with a view to present recommendations on strengthening judicial integrity at the global level.
The Network would serve as a platform to assist judiciaries around the world to uphold judicial integrity, promote knowledge-building and peer learning.
It would also provide access to a large database of thousands of resources, good practices and other judicial documents for immediate reference.
Justice Elisabeth Lovrek, Vice-President of Austria’s Supreme Court, said: “The Network will strengthen judicial cooperation between courts and tribunals from different legal and cultural traditions.
“In an increasingly globalised world, this is more important than ever.”
In this first gathering, the Network discussed solutions for some of the key challenges confronting judiciaries today.
These challenges range from undue political interference by the executive and legislature into judicial appointments and decisions.
Others are reducing budgets in the face of exploding case-loads and corruption in the justice sector, as well as diminishing public confidence.
Substantive sessions would cover an array of measures to help judiciaries tackle those challenges such as developing codes of conduct.
Others are establishing functioning disciplinary bodies and proceedings, balancing accountability and independence, and introducing financial disclosure rules for judges.
The Network would also discuss ways to deal with emerging issues, such as educating judges on the use of social media and the impact of digitalisation on judicial integrity.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov in his message, said: “Judges need the opportunity to share experiences, exchange good practices and support each other.
“The Network will continue to serve as a resource for addressing new and emerging challenges, such as those posed by social media and other technological developments”.