After two years of planning, seven regional preparatory meetings, and consultations with approximately 4,000 judges, UNODC launched its Global Judicial Integrity Network this week, in the presence of Chief Justices, senior judges and judicial professionals from around the world.
The Network is a platform for judges to share good practices and lessons learned, to support each other, and to join forces in developing new tools and guidelines for strengthening integrity and preventing corruption in the judicial system. As such, it will also provide access to a large online database featuring thousands of resources, good practices, and other judicial documents for immediate reference.
When judges in every country are able to access pertinent legal and judicial resources, to study good practices and to review a multitude of other materials put at their disposition by UNODC, within a network affording them the opportunity to directly liaise and confer with their peers in other jurisdictions, their individual efforts in fighting corruption and in protecting judicial integrity are immediately reinforced by the power of consensus and sustained by the strength of its universality.
Ultimately, and more importantly, these steps will protect people's right to justice. As inspirational and idealistic as it may seem, this is the goal of every honourable member of the judicial system.
In 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched a global programme to promote a culture of lawfulness. It includes the creation of a Global Judicial Integrity Network to share best practices and lessons learned on the fundamental challenges and new questions relating to judicial integrity and the prevention of corruption.
This is an important step for the creation of a common language and a common perspective amongst different domains of the United Nations. In my capacity as Special Rapporteur, I have already expressed my full disposal to collaborate in the implementation of this programme.
In partnership with the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and the Judicial College of England and Wales, UNODC's training workshop was held in Brussels this month, with participants from Jamaica, Mozambique, Brazil, the Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Uganda and Mauritius. These countries, as part of the larger group of pilots site jurisdictions which also includes Pakistan, Madagascar, Tunisia and Belize, will become the first group of trainers, initiating themselves the implementation of their learning in their respective jurisdictions.
"Finding the perfect balance between integrity, transparency, accountability and judicial independence is absolutely essential," said UNODC's Oliver Stolpe at a special event on preventing corruption in the justice sector held on the margins of this week's Seventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Speaking on this issue, he was joined by others including Tilman Hoppe, a consultant with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH ; Christina Tarna, an anti-Corruption Expert in the Republic of Moldova; and Judge Rafael Menezes, vice-president of the International Association of Judges.