This year, the world marks the 30 th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most ratified international human rights treaty in history (with 195 countries having signed it) but not necessarily the best known by its intended beneficiaries - all children under the age of 18. In the Convention, 54 articles detail an extensive list of children's rights in various categories, which include the general basic human rights also applicable to adults, and another set of rights to protect them until they reach the age of 18. These sets of rights are commonly classified into the so-called three Ps, namely: provision (such as food, shelter, health care, education); protection (such as from abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination); and participation (such as involvement in community, youth activities).
In October 2018, the Southern African Chief Justices' Forum (SACJF) formally adopted the Lilongwe Principles and Guidelines on the Selection and Appointment of Judicial Officers. The Lilongwe Principles and Guidelines, which have previously been discussed in a 'Views' piece by Justice Sanji Monageng, are significant, as they are the first such guidelines to be developed in Africa, by an African institution, in response to specific circumstances that pertain to Africa. Thus, the adoption of the Lilongwe Principles and Guidelines is an embodiment of the spirit of finding African solutions to Africa's governance challenges.
By acting with personal integrity and making ethical choices, everyone has a role in preventing corruption. And while children may not know it, they too have a place in changing the world by making the right, lawful decisions. Therefore, it is critical to instil in young boys and girls the values which build resistance to corruption, teaching them not only about the good and the bad, but also how to identify crime and criminal activities, and to make relevant and effective tools available to all children.
These ideas were at the core of a workshop held by the Ministry of Public Education of Uzbekistan and UNODC's Regional Office for Central Asia, entitled 'Strengthening the pedagogical potential in the field of education for justice'.
There is global consensus that the core conduct characteristics necessary for an effective and principled judiciary are independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety, equality, competence and diligence. Most judiciaries have formally pledged to uphold these principles, laid out in detail by the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, one of the basic documents through which the Global Judicial Integrity Network promotes the rule of law.
Despite many judiciaries' best efforts to sustain lawfulness, however, potential impediments can hinder judges' ability to carry out their functions; this can come through pressure of various kinds, both intended (as a deliberate attempt to influence judges) and unintended (through circumstances which may lead judges to be restrained in their decisions).
Judicial misconduct breaks down the very fibre of what is necessary for a functional judiciary- citizens who believe their judges are fair and impartial. The judiciary cannot exist without the trust and confidence of the people. Judges must, therefore, be accountable to legal and ethical standards. In holding them accountable for their behaviour, judicial conduct review must be performed without invading the independence of judicial decision-making. This task can be daunting.
Mr. David J. Sachar, Executive Director of the Judicial Discipline and Disciplinary Commission in Arkansas, United States and Advisory Board Member of the National Center for State Courts, recently shared his views on judicial misconduct with UNODC, as part of the Organization's on-going work to exchange good practices in the investigation of misconduct.