European Commission aims to strengthen rule of law

The European Commission has adopted a Communication titled ‘Further strengthening the Rule of Law within the European Union’. In this 17 July 2019 document, the Commission sets out concrete initiatives grouped around three pillars: promoting a common rule of law culture; preventing rule of law problems; and responding effectively to breaches of the rule of law. Protection by and of the judiciary is paramount in this resolute vision of the way forward.

Niek van de Pasch

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Whistleblowing in Ukraine: Judge Larysa Holnyk, an update

Judges for Judges has been following for some time now the case of Ukrainian judge Larysa Holnyk who has been targeted for taking a stand against corruption. Earlier this year she received a Special Recognition Award from Blueprint for Free Speech: “Her case shows the limitations of anti-corruption policies in protecting individual whistleblowers at risk, and the importance of a judiciary that is independent and incorruptible.”

It is important to keep track to Larysa Holnyk’s story. Ukraine is going through a challenging period of judicial reform and the implementation of newly-adopted legislation with the aim of ensuring indepence, fairness and effectiveness of the judiciary in line with Council of Europe standards. But a society that has been riddled with corruption for years obviously cannot be changed overnight. Judge-whistleblower Larysa Holnyk shares her story on her ongoing fight to obtain justice with us.

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Turkish judges in Strasbourg: an effective remedy?

On 5 and 6 December the conference Judicial independence under threat? – organized by the Council of Europe and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – took place in Strasbourg. Both Diego García-Sayán, the UN Special rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and our board member Ybo Buruma were present at this conference. The question regarding when and under what conditions the European Court of Human Rights will provide an effective remedy for dismissed and detained Turkish judges inspired them both to write a column.

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Imprisoned judges and judicial independence

The mere number of imprisoned Turkish judges is so intimidating, that a very special gesture is necessary if judicial independence in Turkey is to be protected. Would it not be preferable to deal with the cases in Strasbourg even before all the domestic remedies have been exhausted? Judges for Judges board member Ybo Buruma has the impression that the European Court of Human Rights does not wish to follow this line of reasoning.

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Anniversaries: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Diego García-Sayán has been particularly affected by the visible lack of action on the part of the exemplary European Court of Human Rights regarding the serious violations of human rights in Turkey. With hundreds of judges still imprisoned, organisations of lawyers destroyed and their members also in prison, it is alarming that the Court is acting as if judicial institutions and legal defence are still functioning normally.

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