The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have split the world even further apart, as the health crisis continues to put new pressures on daily life. And while for some, it has slowed down their output; for others, lockdown has generated a desire to do more.
Fields which have been affected by the pandemic include the judicial sectors around the world, with the postponement of trials and a slowing down of judicial processes. In Lebanon, the pandemic was exacerbated by the August 4 th explosion in Beirut, an event with catastrophic consequences on a human level and on the city's infrastructure. For Judge Jean Tannous, who suffered a personal tragedy in the explosion, this was nevertheless an occasion to insist even more on dedicating himself to his work, and to continue promoting judicial integrity.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis and the measures taken to combat its spread have been some of the most disruptive events to daily life that humankind has faced since the 1918 flu pandemic. So far, the coronavirus has affected a multiplicity of countries and territories around the world, with more than 53 million cases registered by November 2020.
Faced with the challenge of protecting public health and preventing the further spread of the virus, the Republic of Serbia declared a state of emergency on 15 March 2020. The Constitution permits the state to derogate from certain rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but only to the extent required by the severity of the situation.
As the world watched in dismay at the distressing consequences of COVID-19, what held us together in Malaysia is the belief that nothing is insurmountable. Thus, with characteristic stoicism, the Malaysian Judiciary put several measures in place, for it is inconceivable that the administration and accessibility to justice should come to a grinding halt.
Even if the courts are not listed as 'essential services' under the relevant regulation, the enabling provision of the Prevention of Infectious Diseases Act (1988) allowed certain protective measures to be put in place to ensure that COVID-19 is curbed and confined. As such, comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures for the courts were formulated, incorporating both the form and substance of court administration.
Not a day passes without stories of organized crime making their way to the front pages of newspapers around the world. Despite copious legislation and strong law enforcement measures in most countries, criminal groups find ways to operate outside the rule of law across borders, causing immense physical, psychological, and financial damage to their victims.
Governments have since long joined efforts in combatting organized crime even as it continues to become more emboldened. With the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), signed in Palermo, Italy in 2000, they devised an international instrument enabling their collective fight against transnational organized crime.
UNODC's Judicial Integrity Team, together with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judge and Lawyers, will contextualize the problem of judicial corruption arising from organized crime and illustrate its effects on the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. The panel will highlight the applicable international legal frameworks as well as good practices for preventing and combating corruption linked to organized crime. It will also promote specific resources of the Global Judicial Integrity Network available to improve training on judicial integrity principles and provide updates on other relevant work being carried out by the Special Rapporteur.