Corruption in the justice system - whether actual or perceived - poses a real threat to confidence in the rule of law. With this in mind, boosting judicial integrity is an integral part of the Doha Declaration Global Programme.
The Judicial Integrity initiative aims to assist judiciaries across the globe in strengthening judicial integrity and preventing corruption in the justice sector, in line with Article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. For that purpose the initiative will facilitate the creation of a Global Judicial Integrity Network.
UNODC has been providing assistance to Member States in strengthening judicial integrity, accountability and professionalism since 2000, by supporting the development of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and producing various tools to help judiciaries to that effect.
The Global Judicial Integrity Network will give new momentum to these efforts and create a platform to support judiciaries in the:
- Exchange of best practices and lessons learned on challenges and emerging issues in judicial integrity and the prevention of corruption;
- Creation of a database of relevant resources;
- Development of tools, practical guidance manuals and training programmes to address national challenges;
- Provision of peer-to-peer advisory services, training and other capacity-building support;
- Assessments of integrity risks and in the development of effective responses to the risks identified; and
"Finding the perfect balance between integrity, transparency, accountability and judicial independence is absolutely essential," said UNODC's Oliver Stolpe at a special event on preventing corruption in the justice sector held on the margins of this week's Seventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Speaking on this issue, he was joined by others including Tilman Hoppe, a consultant with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH ; Christina Tarna, an anti-Corruption Expert in the Republic of Moldova; and Judge Rafael Menezes, vice-president of the International Association of Judges.
This week, the final regional preparatory meeting for the upcoming Global Judicial Integrity Network was held in Namibia for Anglophone and Lusophone African countries. From 16 to 17 October, Chief Justices and senior judges from 17 countries gathered to add their voices to what will be the world's first-ever global platform dedicated exclusively to upholding judicial integrity and preventing corruption within the justice system once launched in April 2018.
The meeting - jointly hosted by UNODC and the Office of the Judiciary of the Republic of Namibia - follows similar regional events held over the past year in Asia, Europe, Francophone Africa, and Latin America.
Under the Doha Declaration Global Programme, UNODC is working towards the creation of a Global Judicial Integrity Network. We recently met with Keith Hollis of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association to talk about the importance of independence in the judiciary.
In the run up to the launch of the Global Judicial Integrity Network in 2018, UNODC is bringing together diverse groups of justice officials and associations from across the world to exchange good practices and challenges in judicial integrity, as well as expectations of the Network.