Onafhankelijkheid rechter in Europa gewaarborgd?

Gepubliceerd op: 16 oktober 2014 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen | Nog geen reacties
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten (NTM)

Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten (NTM)

In het redactioneel van het Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten (NTM 39-4 2014 ) wordt ook aandacht besteed aan de activiteiten van Rechters voor Rechters.

‘Bent u wel eens bang geweest?’ vraagt een Nederlandse rechter aan zijn Oekraïense (ontslagen) collega Oleksandr Volkov. ‘Als je dat toelaat, ben je verloren’, antwoordt Volkov met een sceptisch en tegelijk onverschrokken glimlachje.

Het EHRM laat er gelukkig geen misverstand over bestaan dat ‘issues concerning the functioning of the justice system constitute questions of public interest, the debate of which enjoys the protection of Article 10. Even if an issue under debate has political implications, this is not in itself sufficient to prevent a judge from making a statement of the matter.’ In het kader van de proportionaliteitstoets wijst het EHRM er vervolgens op dat ‘the fear of sanction has a “chilling effect” on the exercise of freedom of expression and in particular risks discouraging judges from making critical remarks about public institutions or policies, for fear of losing their judicial office.’ Het EHRM wijst er vervolgens op dat this chilling effect niet slechts de rechter raakt, maar society as a whole.

 

 

Lees verder…;

Bolivia: politicians’ “trial” of judges an affront to the independence of the judiciary

Gepubliceerd op: 16 oktober 2014 in: Bolivië, CIJL_ICJ | Nog geen reacties

The Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL)

The ICJ condemns the imminent “trial” of Constitutional Court judges by Bolivia’s Senate, in proceedings that could see the judges sent to prison over politicians’ disagreement with a legal ruling.

The proceedings “violate the independence of the judiciary and the right to fair trial,” the Geneva-based organization wrote today in an open letter to all Senators and Deputies of the legislative assembly.

The charges in the trial, scheduled to begin on 21 October, are based entirely on a precautionary ruling by the judges that parts of a new law regulating notaries should not be implemented until the Court has an opportunity to hear a constitutional challenge to the law.

“The spectacle of dozens of politicians pretending to act as an independent and impartial criminal court, threatening to throw constitutional court judges in jail over a difference of opinion as to interpretation of the law, is incompatible with respect for human rights, the separation of powers, and the rule of law,” said Matt Pollard, Head of the Centre for Independence of Judges and Lawyers at the ICJ.

Constitutional Court Judges Soraida Rosario Chanez Chire and Ligia Mónica Velásquez Castaños are to be tried on 21 October, while proceedings against Judge Gualberto Cusi Mamani have reportedly been temporarily suspended for reasons of health. The judges were suspended from duty on 28 July. Lees verder…;

Nieuwsbrief 2014-02

Gepubliceerd op: 18 juli 2014 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Bulgarije, Rusland, Slowakije, Zimbabwe | Nog geen reacties

Vrienden van Rechters voor Rechters,

‘We zetten ons al schrap en hielden onze adem in, maar dat bleek tot onze verrassing helemaal niet nodig’ aldus de twee leden van de Zimbabwaanse delegatie van de International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) toen mede-bestuurslid Evert van der Molen de deur naar de cellengang openzwaaide tijdens een rondleiding in ‘zijn’ gerechtsgebouw De Appelaar in Haarlem.

[.. lees verder in de nieuwsbrief (pdf) ..]

In deze nieuwsbrief treft u daarom in het kader van andere internationale uitwisselingen wat leesvoer voor ’n lome middag in de tuin dan wel voor ‘n zwoele zomeravond op het terras.

Onze blik is ditmaal voornamelijk naar het oosten gericht.

Bestuurslid Jolien Schukking schrijft over haar deelname aan een ICJ-missie naar Rusland rond het thema Selectie, Benoeming en Promotie van Rechters. Werner Stemker Köster – jawel de collega waar op onze bijeenkomst van 26 maart 2014 [www] oud-ambassadeur (thans directeur Europa) Daphne Bergsma zo enthousiast over sprak – schrijft over de ontwikkelingen in de rechterlijke macht in ‘zijn’ Slowakije [www]. Ten slotte schetst Janneke Bockwinkel (onze trial-watcher in Bulgarije [www]) de inbreng van Rechters voor Rechters bij het bezoek in juni van een groep Bulgaarse rechters aan Nederland in het kader van een twinningproject georganiseerd door de NVvR.

[.. lees verder in de nieuwsbrief (pdf) ..]

Zo beschrijft Justice Chinengo in dat kader een trial observation waarbij het groepje uit verschillende Afrikaanse landen afkomstige gezaghebbende rechters van ’s ochtends vroeg tot het einde van de zittingsdag inclusief lunch en alle theepauzes de rechters in (Afrikaanse) solidariteit heeft ‘begeleid’ . Dit opdat de betrokken rechters weten dat er met ze wordt meegekeken en dat zij zich realiseren dat ‘they have to do, what they have to do’, rechtspreken dus en niets anders. En geldt dat eigenlijk ook niet voor ons allen.

’n Mooie zomer toegewenst, met warme groet!

Tamara Trotman

Voorzitter

Over solidariteit en de persoonlijke moed van daadwerkelijk onafhankelijke en onpartijdige rechters

Gepubliceerd op: 11 juli 2014 in: Activiteiten, Oekraïne, Servië, Venezuela | Nog geen reacties

De onafhankelijkheid en onpartijdigheid van de rechter: holle frase of dagelijks richtsnoer? In deze bijdrage schrijft de voorzitter van Rechters voor Rechters waarom de Stichting zich inzet voor dappere rechters als de Venezolaanse  María Lourdes Afiuni, de Servische Dragana Boljević en de Oekraïense Oleksandr Volkov.

Een onafhankelijke rechterlijke macht in een land kan alleen bestaan bij de gratie van individuele rechters die de durf en persoonlijke moed hebben om ook in zware tijden een rechte rug te houden en de ruimte te bevechten om in onpartijdigheid recht te doen zonder aanzien des persoons. En dat is voor deze rechters dan geen holle frase maar een dagelijks richtsnoer. Dit zijn mensen die op de momenten dat het erop aankomt, daadwerkelijk bereid zijn om de consequenties te aanvaarden die horen bij een integere invulling van het rechtersambt.

Artikel in Ars Aequi door Tamara Trotman. (PDF) / ArsAequi.nl

Launch of country profiles on independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers | CIJL

Gepubliceerd op: 19 juni 2014 in: CIJL_ICJ | Nog geen reacties

The Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL)

The ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL) has launched the first in a series of Country Profiles, a new online tool on the ICJ’s website.

Profiles on Myanmar, the Russian Federation, South Sudan and Swaziland are being published today. Tunisia, Venezuela and Honduras will be added in the coming months. By the end of 2014, all five regions in which the ICJ is active will be represented (Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America, MENA). The CIJL plans to add further countries on an on-going basis, and periodically to update existing profiles.

Each profile summarises information about the independence of judges, lawyers and prosecutors in the country, and assesses the situation against relevant international law and standards. The profiles aim to provide users, including legal professionals, academics, government officials and human rights defenders, with material in an accessible format which can also be used for further analysis. Lees verder…;

Statement on judiciary in Russian Federation, and individual case of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni in Venezuela | CIJL

Gepubliceerd op: 17 juni 2014 in: CIJL_ICJ, Rusland, Swaziland, Venezuela | Nog geen reacties

The Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL)

Statement on judiciary in Russian Federation, and individual cases in Venezuela and Swaziland

The ICJ today made an oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council, in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, responding to her report on her visit to the Russian Federation.

The statement also highlighted the case of reprisals against judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni from Venezuela, and the arbitrary detention and unfair trial of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko and journalist Bheki Makhubu in Swaziland.

The statement affirmed that although some progress has been made in legal and institutional reforms to develop an independent and impartial judiciary in Russia, advances remain extremely fragile and are threatened by retrogressive legislative measures, by corruption and by undue influence.

The greatest obstacle is a pervasive mind-set amongst judges who see themselves as executive officials rather than as exercising an autonomous judicial role.

The statement discussed improper influence in selection, appointments and removals of judges in Russia.

It also stressed concerns around the merger of the Supreme Court and High Arbitration Court into a new unified Supreme Court for the Russian Federation.

The ICJ also highlighted the case of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni from Venzuela, emblematic of a wider crisis for the rule of law in Venezuela.

After a lengthy period of arbitrary detention in which she was subjected to gross abuses, she remains enmeshed in a seemingly endless criminal procedure.

She was targeted solely for having duly performed her functions as a judge, after she ended a detention that had been recognised as arbitrary by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The statement also thanked the Special Rapporteur for her press release, issued jointly with three other special procedures on 12 June, about human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko and journalist Bheki Makhubu, who are under arbitrary detention and unfair trial in Swaziland.

The representatives of Venezuela interrupted the ICJ statement, invoking a point of order.

In her closing comments, the Special Rapporteur reiterated her concerns about the case of Judge Afiuni, calling once again for all charges against her to be dropped and for her to be reinstated.

The ICJ June 2014 report on the rule of law in Venezuela is available here.

A 2012 ICJ report on disciplinary procedures applicable to judges in Russia is available here.

 

Source: 16.06.2014. http://www.icj.org/?p=29677. Republished with permission.

Bulgaria: concerns remain about Todorova case | CIJL

Gepubliceerd op: 14 juni 2014 in: Bulgarije, CIJL_ICJ | Nog geen reacties

The ICJ remains concerned that the treatment of Bulgarian Judge Miroslava Todorova fails to accord with international standards on independence of the judiciary.

On 27 March 2014, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) of Bulgaria reduced the disciplinary penalty imposed on her from dismissal, to demotion for a period of two years.

In imposing the new disciplinary sanction, the SJC said it was faulting her for delays in delivering judgment in several cases. The alleged faults occured some nine years ago.

The SJC sanctioned Judge Todorova to demotion for a period of two years. Whereas she had previously served on the Sofia City Court, during this two-year period she is permitted to work only in the lower level Sofia District Court. According to Bulgarian law, demotion is the second-most serious disciplinary sanction for a judge, one step less serious than dismissal.

Originally, in July 2012, the SJC decided to dismiss Judge Todorova from judicial service. Its decision was however quashed by the Supreme Administrative Council on 16 July 2013, on the basis that dismissal was disproportionate.

At the time, Lees verder…;

Venezuela: weak legal system threatens democracy and human rights; reforms urgently needed, new report says | CIJL

Gepubliceerd op: 5 juni 2014 in: CIJL_ICJ, Venezuela | Nog geen reacties

A new report launched today by the ICJ pinpoints key deficiencies in the Venezuelan legal system, which threaten the rule of law, democracy and human rights in the country.

The report Strengthening the Rule of Law in Venezuela documents failures by the authorities, as well as interference, intimidation, arbitrary suspensions and other pressures, that have undermined the independence and impartiality of the country’s judges and prosecutors, and the ability of lawyers to be effective and independent in upholding people’s rights.

The study calls for reform to the legal institutions and practices in the country, with the prime objective to restore their independence.

“The situation in Venezuela underscores the need for reforms and demonstrates exactly why a robustly independent judiciary Lees verder…;

Urgent need for Venezuelan justice system reform highlighted by trial of Judge Afiuni states new IBAHRI report

Gepubliceerd op: 4 juni 2014 in: Venezuela | Nog geen reacties

A new report states the Venezuelan justice system does not contain adequate systemic safeguards to guarantee judicial independence and cites the trial of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni as emblematic of the situation in general. Describing her trial as being characterised by multiple violations of due process and other human rights, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) points to an urgent need for reform of the Venezuelan judiciary.

The 28-page IBAHRI trial observation report, entitled The Execution of Justice: The criminal trial of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni, details a number of specific irregularities in the trial of Judge Afiuni, including:

  • her being arrested without a warrant and the late President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez Frías appearing on national television immediately afterwards calling for her imprisonment;
  • her being subjected to grievous physical abuse in the female maximum security prison Instituto Nacional de Orientación Femenina between December 2009 and February 2011, amounting to violations of her right to life, liberty, personal integrity and adequate conditions of detention;
  • the failure of the public prosecutor to produce sufficient evidence at any stage of the trial in order to substantiate the allegations against her; and
  • the frequent procedural delays resulting in a criminal process that has been drawn out over four years, violating Judge Afiuni’s right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.

IBAHRI Co-Chair Sternford Moyo commented,

[ continue reading: http://ibanet.org ]

Tunisia: Reforms should be adopted to strengthen the independence and accountability of the judiciary | CIJL-ICJ

Gepubliceerd op: 15 mei 2014 in: CIJL_ICJ, Tunesië | Nog geen reacties

The ICJ today called on the Tunisian authorities to build on the advances made in the January 2014 Constitution by introducing legal and policy reforms to ensure the Tunisian judiciary is fully independent and accountable and is able to uphold human rights and the rule of law.

These reforms should be a priority of the new Parliament and should be carried out in consultation with the judiciary and civil society. The Constitution provides that a new Parliament is to be elected before the end of 2014.

The statement comes as the ICJ concluded a high-level mission to Tunisia to launch its report: “The independence and accountability of the Tunisian judicial system: learning from the past to build a better future.”

In this report, the ICJ examines the past and present Constitution, laws, institutions and practices governing the independence of the judiciary in Tunisia and analyses them in light of international and regional standards.

Despite the foundation laid down by the 2014 Constitution for significant reforms, much more needs to be done.

The ICJ considered that the new High Judicial Council provided for by the 2014 Constitution should be Lees verder…;