This section contains opinion pieces written by Global Judicial Integrity Network participants, who are members of judiciaries worldwide. The pieces focus on the personal opinions and experiences of these external experts on issues related to judicial integrity.
Please note that all opinions expressed in this section of the website are the opinions of the authors, who are external experts, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of UNODC.
In Argentina, the justice system is going through a crisis of trust and legitimacy. One of the reasons for this crisis is that access to justice presents numerous difficulties that are aggravated by the lack of public policies that strengthen transparency, accountability and citizens' participation in the judiciary.
In line with the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the provisions for its implementation, we believe that public confidence in the justice system is of the utmost importance in a modern and democratic society. It is also essential that judges honour jurisdictional functions and actively work to promote transparency in the judiciary.
Therefore, it is our duty to echo the citizens' claims and to set out concrete actions to create a new way of administering justice in our country.
As an International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) member and as a Moroccan magistrate, I strongly believe that corruption and unethical practices significantly affect development and progress, in addition to hindering the stability of states. Preventing judicial corruption requires synergy to consolidate the principle of integrity and the moralization of public life, as well as link responsibility to identifying and combating corruption. In this vein, the Moroccan judiciary has been improving both its corruption reporting mechanisms, as well as targeting corruption within the judiciary itself.
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.
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.
For more than three decades, information and communications technology (ICT) advancements have burst into the operations of courts and prosecutors' offices promising transparency, efficiency and radical changes to working practices, such as paperless courts. Even if in most jurisdictions such promises have yet to be fulfilled, software programmes and algorithms are already executing growing chunks of judicial procedures. The impacts such technologies have on the functioning of justice systems and the values endorsed by the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct are mostly positive.