Confidence in the rule of law is a basic element of a culture of lawfulness, and the promotion of judicial independence, transparency and integrity is of utmost importance to UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, which works with judiciaries around the world to this end. The Programme's Senior Officer, Marco Teixeira, was invited last month to Argentina to discuss the objectives of the Doha Declaration, at the Judicial Council of the City of Buenos Aires. Mr. Teixeira presented the four components of the Programme, and in particular the work of the Judicial Integrity pillar and the activities of the Global Judicial Integrity Network : "The Global Judicial Integrity Network is a unique platform that provides peer to peer learning and connects judges worldwide".
The concept of judicial independence, in its theoretical sense, may appear to be a banal and non-contentious issue. However, when it is put into practice in the discharge of one's duties as a judge it becomes a loaded issue which is critical in the delivery of real and substantial justice. The reality is that the institutional independence of the judiciary goes to the very root of the ethical and constitutional obligation owed by a judge in exercising their duty of care to those parties who appear before them. It is essential, however, that the judge feels unencumbered by the possibility of negative consequences which may flow from the decision which they may make.
There are many aspects to crime worldwide, many of which were discussed and considered by hundreds of experts during the 28 th Session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held this week in Vienna. Like the other components of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, the Judicial Integrity initiative was active in numerous discussions and held side events to consider specific aspects having great impact on justice, namely judicial independence and gender and diversity.
In all these aspects related to judicial integrity, the Global Judicial Integrity Network plays an important role in creating a space for discussion and for sharing experiences and resources.
Being a judge in our current society is enormously complex. We are required not only to be good judges, who are in continuous training, but also to be close to the citizens and societal problems. We must demonstrate impartiality, independence, courtesy, diligence, responsibility and a constant commitment to public exemplariness that transmits security and confidence in the judiciary to society as a whole. We must awaken in ourselves a special sensitivity to many issues in our daily lives that, in some way, could compromise our jurisdictional function.
The European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) believes that councils and judiciaries should assume a new role to achieve a better balance of power and to strengthen the position of the judiciary, which necessitates expressing and explaining the role of an independent and accountable judiciary, within a state governed by the rule of law. In addition, councils for the judiciary should be instrumental in helping educate society about what judges do, and it is therefore essential for the councils and the judiciaries to develop their communication with the general public.