This section contains opinion pieces written by Global Judicial Integrity Network participants, who are members of judiciaries worldwide. The pieces focus on the personal opinions and experiences of these external experts on issues related to judicial integrity. All opinion pieces written in 2018-2019 have been compiled in one review journal, available here.
Please note that all opinions expressed in this section of the website are the opinions of the authors, who are external experts, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of UNODC.
After independence, Montenegro adopted its constitution in 2007. The highest legal act of an independent and sovereign state of Montenegro, for the first time, stipulated that Montenegro was a state based on the rule of law. It is this constitutional determination that has directed our country to make fundamental changes to its own state system, in order to create democratic state institutions dedicated to the protection and respect of human rights and the fight against all forms of crimes.
As of May 1, 2020, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). On 3 April 2020, the Supreme Court joined the FSM National Government and the four State Governments efforts to keep the coronavirus out of the FSM. The Supreme Court issued Emergency Order No. 1, in response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Court cases in Mauritius are traditionally heard in open court with legal advisers, litigants, witnesses as well as the court staff in attendance. In regular circumstances, the public also has physical access to the courts and the administrative sections during office hours. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to previous methods and pushed the judiciary to expand its virtual operations.
The Government of Mauritius initiated a lockdown on 20 March 2020 under section 79 of the Public Health Act to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is an extraordinary measure that could limit or suspend fundamental rights and freedoms. All public and private businesses were closed, but the Courts continued operations as one of the 'essential services' for the hearing of urgent cases.
If trials contribute to the spread of the virus, public trust in the judiciary could be undermined. It goes beyond the judicial duties of a judge if performing those duties poses a direct threat to the judge's life or health.
However, the timely exercise of the judicial function may be more important than ever. According to the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, a judge shall perform all judicial duties with reasonable promptness. In the Republic of Korea, instead of compulsory and full-scale lockdown, the government instead has imposed obligatory self-quarantine only on high-risk groups.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of COVID-19 an international health emergency. All countries have also taken action against the emergence and spread of the pandemic and the subsequent health emergency. Most countries have declared states of emergency and adopted restrictive measures for human movement, such as closing air, land and sea borders, as well as in some cases, compulsory social isolation.