The European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) believes that councils and judiciaries should assume a new role to achieve a better balance of power and to strengthen the position of the judiciary, which necessitates expressing and explaining the role of an independent and accountable judiciary, within a state governed by the rule of law. In addition, councils for the judiciary should be instrumental in helping educate society about what judges do, and it is therefore essential for the councils and the judiciaries to develop their communication with the general public.
Last week, the head of UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, Marco Teixeira, was interviewed by MTV (one of the most prominent regional channels in Lebanon and the Arab world), on its renowned MTV Alive show. He spoke about the Global Programme's mission to promote a culture of lawfulness, through the various activities and resources of its four components. Below are some excerpts from the interview (edited for clarity).
Promoting judicial integrity by supporting those who will themselves train judges and judicial staff in their respective countries, these UNODC resources are being rolled out in 40 pilot countries. This month, the fourth training of trainers was organized at UNODC headquarters in Vienna, gathering judges and judicial staff from some 20 countries, all aiming at organizing trainings in a near future and incorporating these unique resources. Marco Teixeira, Senior Programme Officer, welcomed the judges and launched the training by reminding them of the principal goals shared by all: "The Network's purpose is to collectively address existing and emerging challenges related to judicial integrity and to promote peer-learning and information exchange."
As a District Court Judge with a passion for judicial education, I recently discovered a new dimension of teaching, and with it a newfound confidence in myself. Although I had been conducting trainings of judges at the Punjab Judicial Academy in Lahore and the Federal Judicial Academy in Islamabad for several years, I had never attempted to train judges on judicial conduct and ethics. The mere idea of standing on a podium and lecturing them on ethics felt like a huge challenge.
My participation in a "Train-the-Trainer's Workshop," in UNODC headquarters in Vienna, under the auspices of the Global Judicial Integrity Network, changed my perspective and my disposition. The workshop introduced me to different training techniques and methodologies, allowing judicial trainers to handle various learning styles.
As a judge, I think of window cleaning whenever the issue of transparency arises; it gives me perspective. Granted, the mere sound of the word sometimes provokes fear or nervousness. Perhaps we feel that our own privacy would be so invaded that we could no longer enjoy it. Or perhaps being transparent demands a vulnerability which we would be terrified to show. But as judges, we ask society to trust that we will make sound judgments. Judgments which many can neither read nor understand, and which are given by persons whose existence they discover only when the appointment makes the news. Once appointed, we so often fail to appreciate society's fear of an institution which, for far too long, has tried to foster respect through strange rituals and aloofness; an institution whose members stand firmly on their 'independence,' sometimes unwilling to accept that each and every one of us has dependencies, for no man is an island.