The terrible time we are living in with the coronavirus pandemic poses arduous challenges for those who work in the judicial system. The worldwide extent of the Covid-19 crisis has confronted us, again in our history, with the eternal fragility of humanity.
The International Association of Judges (IAJ) represents associations of 92 countries from five continents. The global dimension of our organization implies a particular obligation to reiterate the grave duties of judges in relation to this pandemic.
The fast spread of the corona virus around the world has already changed much in the way we lead our daily lives, leading both the public and the private sector to look for working solutions to handle this new situation. With social distancing having become a necessity, the education sector was one of the first forced to take action and to adapt current material, testing options for online teaching.
Relying on trusted sources for information and reassurance becomes essential in times of uncertainty; as society seeks guidance, it turns to the experts in their various fields who have a proven record of reliability. This of course includes the United Nations family, which has always worked with a long-term vision to achieve its numerous goals for the benefit of all.
Judicial immunity has always been a highly relevant issue for judges around the world. In recent years, however, judicial immunity has become an even more crucial, even existential , question for judges in many countries .
Under the rule of law, a fair system of appeals must be installed to ensure that judicial decisions can be challenged by anyone who might be negatively affected by them. This purports to rectify mistakes as much as possible. On the other hand, judges must be able to make their decisions without fear of being sued or prosecuted. While it is generally accepted that there are limitations to the concept of judicial immunity, such as willful breaches of the law or human rights violations, judicial immunity is an indispensable pillar of judicial independence.
"It's difficult when you're in prison. Different people face different challenges, but for me, the toughest has been not being able to see my sons who live far away from here." 43-year-old Lina has been in prison for several years but as she nears the end of her sentence in a few short months she is upbeat about returning home. "Often the only thing I, and the others I'm imprisoned with, know is crime - but now I am leaving with options." Indeed, thanks to rehabilitation and reintegration projects such as those instituted by UNODC, Lina and her fellow inmates have hope for a new chance.
As the guardian of the Nelson Mandela Rules (by which the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners are commonly known), UNODC has since long provided technical assistance to Member States on prison reform. With its Prisoner Rehabilitation initiative, a component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, UNODC has also been assisting Member States with the integration of new approaches to prison management and to prisoner rehabilitation.