29 August 2017 - 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.
While UNODC's support to judiciaries is long-standing, the necessity for greater judicial ethics work was most recently called for in the Doha Declaration, adopted at the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015. In this, enhanced transparency in public administration was noted as essential in countering corruption and the resultant Doha Declaration Global Programme is working to develop and strengthen suitable global guidance and technical materials.
Complementing other UNODC initiatives - such as the forthcoming Global Judicial Integrity Network - this work is set to provide bilateral and regional technical assistance to support judiciaries in the development and implementation of strategies, measures and systems to strengthen integrity and accountability in the justice system.
With this in mind, participants at this week's meeting looked at a range of topics, which will feed into this assistance. Among others, this included core challenges around judicial ethics training; national perspectives to pinpoint best practices; innovative training methods; and the use of eLearning.
UNODC also shared with participants the early results of a recently launched online survey to gather inputs from judges and different stakeholders about priority issues, emerging topics, and tools and resources to be developed through the Global Judicial Integrity Network. These early results show that, while the training of judges has been one of the measures most adopted by jurisdictions to promote judicial integrity and counter corruption in recent times, there still seems to be insufficient training opportunities in ethics and anti-corruption available to judges. The survey can be accessed and completed here.