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.
It has been less than a year since its launch, but the Global Judicial Integrity Network has been in full active mode, consolidating its platform and multiplying initiatives to advance the notion and the application of judicial integrity around the globe. Fruitful deliberations on the Network's past, present and future were held in Doha this past week, with members of the Network's Advisory Board assessing the achievements made thus far, and agreeing on forthcoming efforts to continue promoting its vital work. Hosting the meeting, Dr. Hassan bin Lahdan Alhassan Almohanadi, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judiciary Council of the State of Qatar, recognized the Board as including some of the world's key legal minds, brought together to tackle issues such as judicial conduct and anti-corruption.
Achieving equality for women judges, in terms of representation at all levels of the judiciary and on policy-making judicial councils, should be our goal- not only because it is right for women, but also because it is right for the achievement of a more just rule of law. Women judges are strengthening the judiciary and helping to gain the public's trust.
The entry of women judges into spaces from which they had historically been excluded has been a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representative of the people whose lives they affect. By their mere presence, women judges enhance the legitimacy of courts, sending a powerful signal that they are open and accessible to those who seek recourse to justice.