Corruption takes many forms, including within the judicial system, and is a challenge for the future of most of the world's judiciaries. Young people, as existing and prospective court users as well as future judges, are an essential part of the current dialogue to prevent judicial corruption and strengthen judicial integrity. It is therefore necessary to establish a bridge between the different generations, where judges can share with the younger generation their practical lessons on how to counter corruption and, at the same time, young people can share their concerns and visions for the future on how to promote a culture of integrity and resilience to corruption.
The 2022 International Youth Day provided an opportunity to unite forces and bring together different generations of judges, judicial practitioners and young people from around the world committed to ending corruption. On this occasion, the UNODC Global Judicial Integrity Network and the UNODC Global Resource for Anti-Corruption Education and Youth Empowerment (GRACE) Initiative jointly organized a virtual event on Intergenerational Learning: Educating Young People on Judicial Integrity and Countering Corruption in the Judiciary. This year’s theme of the International Youth Day is “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all ages”, which aims to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind.
This virtual event gathered representatives of the judiciary, academics specialized in anti-corruption, and young people from different parts of the world, including the GRACE YouthLED Integrity Advisory Board. The event created a dynamic dialogue to exchange views and share ideas on the important role of the youth in promoting a culture of integrity and resilience to corruption as well as more open and accountable societies. In this regard, one of the guest speakers Hon. Victor Reyes, from the US National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, highlighted the important role of intergenerational learning for the future of judicial integrity: “It is so important to have young people here today because we (the adults) have more to learn from you, than the other way around”. Judge Reyes also emphasized the role of judicial well-being and training judges on empathy and taking care of themselves for judicial integrity “When I was young, I was not trained in taking care of myself and it is so important that you develop those practices now to promote well-being at the physical, emotional and spiritual level. Like this, taking care of ourselves, we are less inclined to compromise ourselves.”
The event also aimed to raise awareness among young people as well as to better understand and address emerging challenges related to integrity, ethics and anti-corruption in today’s world. In this sense, the event also featured Brazilian Prosecutor and Professor at the Presbiteriana Mackenize University, Denise Neves Abade. In the words of Professor Neves, “Corruption has a direct impact on human rights, it deprives society of resources needed for basic needs and it decreases public trust in the justice system. Young people have the power to change the world for the better, to prevent corruption and look out for judicial integrity.”
During the event, it was emphasized several times that the Global Judicial Integrity Network plays an important role in promoting peer support and intergenerational learning between judges from different generations and parts of the world. Even beyond the International Youth Day, the Network continues to strengthen the linkages between different generations to counter corruption and strengthen the justice system, including through fostering dialogue, creating opportunities for experience-sharing, mentoring and learning from one another.