With the judiciary a necessary cornerstone of law and order, ensuring a common understanding of ethics and the role that the court plays in society as well as working towards fair and equitable representation in the legal system is crucial. With this in mind, UNODC this past week convened a fruitful high-level discussion to mark the Judiciary of Iraq bringing the Global Judicial Integrity Network past the landmark threshold of 60 training sites for the Judicial Ethics Training Tools, as well as celebrate the commitment of Iraq to their implementation. The discussion featured the Chief Justices of the State of Qatar and the Republic of Iraq, along with a number of national judges who collectively shared their thoughts and ideas on this area.
In episode 1 of UNODC's new interview series, 'Rule of Law Conversations', the Doha Declaration Global Programme chats to Betsy Apple, Advocacy Director and Head of Democracy and the Rule of Law Division at the Open Society Justice Initiative, about these and other issues on this critical topic.
A woman's road to accessing justice was already precarious prior to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Across the world, an estimated 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 years were subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months. A portion of these women form part of the 2.5 billion who are deprived of various forms of legal protections.
The crisis has brought the resilience of justice systems into sharp focus, with resources being diverted away from the justice sector towards more immediate public health measures. Institutions and services such as the courts, hotlines, crisis centres, legal aid clinics and social welfare services are being scaled back in many countries. Justice institutions have also been compelled to operate differently. Courts are prioritizing "exceptionally urgent" cases and placing restrictions on in-person appearances.