Key justices in francophone Africa add voices to global fight against corruption in the judicial system

Meetings supported by the State of Qatar

Ouagadougou, 3 October 2017 - As part of the anti-corruption efforts by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 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 is being held from 3-4 October in Ouagadougou, following similar events in Asia (Bangkok), Europe (Vienna) and Latin America (Panama). The event brings together some 30 high-level attendees, including eight presidents of Supreme Court and of Court of Cassation and other representatives of judicial institutions from 15 countries across the region.

Opening the event, H.E. Bessolé René Bagaro, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Advocacy of Burkina Faso, pointed out that "Justice is an essential pillar of the rule of law. It is the centre of the construction of democracy and development".  

   H.E. Bessolé René Bagaro, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Advocacy of Burkina Faso

Ousmane Batoko, President of the Supreme Court of Benin and President of the l'Association des Hautes Juridictions de Cassation des pays ayant en partage l'usage du français (AHJUCAF),also addressed the meeting, noting: "The stakes are high, since the future of democracy depends on it. Justice carries the rule of law and if it is rotted by corruption, it would not be able to accomplish its mission effectively and efficiently".

The Global Judicial Integrity Network will be launched to support States parties to fully implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption: the world's only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. Article 11 of the Convention emphasizes the crucial role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption and recognizes that in order to play this role effectively, the judiciary itself must be free from corruption and its members must act with integrity. Accordingly, the Convention requires each State party to take measures to strengthen the integrity of judges and to prevent the possibility of corrupting them.

Highlighting "the justice is seen as the source of hope and that an independent judiciary is key to ensure the integrity of the judicial system", the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Burkina Faso, Metsi Makhetha, commented "issue of justice is not just a matter of justice, it is a matter of security for all of us. There will not be peace and development without justice". UNODC's Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, Pierre Lapaque, similarly noted: "The integrity of the judiciaries is not an option but an obligation".

  Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa

Designed with members of judicial systems worldwide in mind, the Network will draw on the expertise and experience of senior judges, national and regional judicial associations, judicial officials and other stakeholders. Once launched, it will provide a platform to exchange good practices and access relevant resources, good practices and other materials.

The creation of the Global Judicial Integrity Network is part of UNODC's Doha Declaration Global Programme, which was developed after the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015. The Global Programme provides support and technical assistance to Member States across the world in specific areas in order to promote a culture of lawfulness and boost respect for the rule of law, including through the strengthening of judicial integrity and the prevention of corruption in the judicial system.

For more information:

Final communiqué of the event (French only)

Doha Declaration Global Programme

Global Judicial Integrity Network

UNODC's anti-corruption work