1 December 2016 - The creation of a Global Judicial Integrity Network moved a step closer to being realized this week as UNODC held its first regional preparatory meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Panamanian capital. Once live, the Network will bring together Chief Justices and members of judicial bodies from across the world and will be the first ever global platform dedicated exclusively to upholding judicial integrity and preventing corruption within the justice system.
Welcoming participants to the event, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Panama, H.E. José Ayú Prado, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of El Salvador, H.E. Oscar Pineda, and the UNODC Regional Representative for Central America and the Caribbean, Amado Philip de Andrés, highlighted the importance of the meeting and its wider aims. This was echoed during the opening by the President of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority of Qatar, H.E. Saad Al Mahmoud, whose country is providing financial support for the creation of the Network and the wider UNODC Global Programme on lawfulness and the rule of law under which this is situated.
In their respective remarks, the four commented on how the upcoming Network will offer a platform where common challenges, best practices and innovative ideas can be discussed in order to produce practical initiatives in order to promote integrity in the judiciary.
"The objective of this first preparatory meeting is to set the basis for the establishment of a Global Judicial Integrity Network, which will ensure transparency of Judicial Powers in the Americas", noted Chief Justice Ayú Prado. Mr. de Andrés meanwhile highlighted that "Judicial integrity is rapidly becoming the gate-keeper to strengthening the rule of law and guaranteeing access to effective justice for people in the region".
Attended by more than 20 Justices from Latin America, including seven Chief Justices, topics covered at this meeting comprised the necessity of regional cooperation to tackle high profile cases of corruption and other related transnational crimes, as well as the importance of mapping corruption risks as a basic tool for the design of an Integrity Institutional Plan, among others.
Boosting judicial integrity as a crucial tool to achieving sustainable development was most recently highlighted by the 13th United Nations Crime Congress, held in Qatar in 2015. In its final declaration, the Congress emphasized the importance of preventing and countering corruption, and promoting integrity and accountability in criminal justice systems. Since then, UNODC - with the financial support of the State of Qatar - have launched a wide-ranging Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration.