25 January 2019 - It has been less than a year since its launch, but the Global Judicial Integrity Network has been in full active mode, consolidating its platform and multiplying initiatives to advance the notion and the application of judicial integrity around the globe. An integral component of UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, it has been a leader in promoting a culture of lawfulness on an international level, by working with and by supporting judicial institutions and professionals in Member States through a variety of means.
Fruitful deliberations on the Network's past, present and future were held in Doha this past week. Convening over two days, members of the Network's Advisory Board assessed the achievements made thus far, and agreed on forthcoming efforts to continue promoting its vital work. Hosting the meeting, Dr. Hassan bin Lahdan Alhassan Almohanadi, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judiciary Council of the State of Qatar, recognized the Board as including some of the world's key legal minds, brought together to tackle issues such as judicial conduct and anti-corruption, and stressed the Network's importance in spreading the rule of law.
Indeed, a wide array of material has already been made available on the Network's exclusive website, which includes a restricted area where registered judges and judicial staff can make queries, consult disciplinary cases and access the online Judicial Ethics Training Tools programme. The continuously expanding online library contains over 1,400 documents from more than 160 countries and 210 institutions worldwide; a dedicated section named Views where judges can contribute opinion pieces on topical judicial matters; and a series of podcasts featuring interviews with a wide variety of judicial professionals. There is even a unique online course on judicial ethics, providing newly appointed and serving members of the judiciary with a solid understanding of the two cornerstones of judicial integrity: the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, and the requirements of Article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Marco Teixeira, UNODC Senior Programme Officer and Head of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, remarked that the Network's activities had increased exponentially over the course of the last year; he mentioned three Train-the-Trainers judicial ethics workshops organized so far, which already built the training capacity of trainers in 24 of the over 30 pilot sites, as one example of the Network's wide reach: "The Global Judicial Integrity Network is an important player in promoting a corruption-free and just world. We have witnessed tremendous interest and engagement with the Network in its existence so far and look forward to this growing even further to provide independent, freely available tools and resources to judicial practitioners. In achieving this, it is our privilege to have such a high quality of expertise among those on the Advisory Board to help guide this work."
The Network has also been extremely proactive in organizing and participating in numerous and varied events relating to judicial themes around the world, including conferences, workshops, and expert group meetings, bringing together justice professionals from all continents to consider and debate how best to support judicial integrity in a fast changing world. Amongst others, the Network brought together experts to evaluate judges' use of social media, to discuss the potential role of artificial intelligence in judicial cases, and to confer on how best to address gender issues in the field.
Amplifying this, the Advisory Board members themselves have been particularly active in promoting the Network and its ideals since the launch. In a wide range of countries across the globe spanning all continents, members have been highlighting the unique advantage that the Network brings in fostering dialogue and best-practices - and recognizing the impact that this has had. As Board Member Adrian Saunders, President of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers, remarked at the meeting, "It is fair to say that the Global Judicial Integrity Network has led to the revision of legal codes in a number of Caribbean countries, and it has also brought a renewed focus on the importance of judicial integrity."
Equally high on the Advisory Board's agenda during this meeting was the holding of the second high-level conference of the Global Judicial Integrity Network, to be held in Doha from 18 to 19 November. The organization of the event was formalized on 23 January between the Supreme Judiciary Council of the State of Qatar and UNODC.
Additional information on Judicial Integrity:
Global Judicial Integrity Network