"Finding the perfect balance between integrity, transparency, accountability and judicial independence is absolutely essential," said UNODC's Oliver Stolpe at a special event on preventing corruption in the justice sector held on the margins of this week's Seventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Speaking on this issue, he was joined by others including Tilman Hoppe, a consultant with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH ; Christina Tarna, an anti-Corruption Expert in the Republic of Moldova; and Judge Rafael Menezes, vice-president of the International Association of Judges.
This week, the final regional preparatory meeting for the upcoming Global Judicial Integrity Network was held in Namibia for Anglophone and Lusophone African countries. From 16 to 17 October, Chief Justices and senior judges from 17 countries gathered to add their voices to what will be the world's first-ever global platform dedicated exclusively to upholding judicial integrity and preventing corruption within the justice system once launched in April 2018.
The meeting - jointly hosted by UNODC and the Office of the Judiciary of the Republic of Namibia - follows similar regional events held over the past year in Asia, Europe, Francophone Africa, and Latin America.
As part of UNODC's anti-corruption efforts, a series of meetings and discussions with Chief Justices and senior judicial officers are currently taking place across the world ahead of the 2018 launch of the Global Judicial Integrity Network.
To ensure that voices and views from across Africa are taken into account in the development of the Network, a preparatory meeting was held in early-October in Ouagadougou, following similar events in Asia (Bangkok), Europe (Vienna) and Latin America (Panama). The event brought together some 30 high-level attendees, including eight Supreme Court presidents as well as those from the Courts of Cassation and other representatives of judicial institutions from 15 countries across the region.
As part of UNODC's anti-corruption work within the judiciary, this week kicked off with an Expert Group Meeting in Vienna focussing on the development of judicial ethics training. Key experts, including judges, academics and legal professionals from over 20 countries were present, offering extensive inputs and insights into this crucial issue. The meeting proved essential in hearing the views and recommendations of these globally recognized experts on how to develop training tools in particular for newly appointed members of the judiciary. Most importantly, the two days provided a discussion forum to ensure that the products which will be developed take into account the views of judiciaries as the ultimate recipients of the training to meet the specific needs of those within the area.
In the run up to the launch of the Global Judicial Integrity Network in 2018, UNODC this week held its preparatory meeting for Europe, bringing together a diverse group of justice officials and associations from over 20 countries from across the region.
Following similar activities held in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016, and ahead of meetings for Africa planned for later this year, the two-day discussion offered a forum to exchange good practices and challenges in judicial integrity, as well as expectations of the Network once it goes live.