Met de campagne #aWallBehindIgor hebben Europese collega’s een ‘muur van solidariteit’ gevormd rond de Poolse rechter Igor Tuleya. Een indrukwekkende collage maakt die morele steun zichtbaar.
Vandaag is de eerste nieuwsbrief van het nieuwe jaar verschenen. Daarin besteedt Rechters voor Rechters aandacht aan verhalen uit Polen, Venezuela en Turkije.
Op 29 november 2019 hield de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Rechtspraak een conferentie over de rechtsstaat. In het Vredespaleis in Den Haag heeft voorzitter Tamara Trotman namens Rechters voor Rechters de nieuwe druk van ‘Matters of Principle’ overhandigd aan minister voor Rechtsbescherming Sander Dekker.
Six Polish judges were summoned in disciplinary proceedings recently. They all refuse to appear, because this new development is part of a highly controversial and duly contested legal system. Judges for Judges hereby shares their individual statements, as published by the Association of Polish Judges Iustitia.
Several Polish judges refuse to work alongside colleagues who are involved with the smear campaign against certain members of the judiciary. The Polish Judges Association ‘Iustitia’ provides an update on this current situation. Judges for Judges hereby shares that message.
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.
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.
Eind januari schoof Esther de Rooij als internationaal waarnemer aan bij een mediation tussen rechter Larysa Holnyk en haar collega’s bij de rechtbank in het Oekraïense Poltava. Zij doet namens Rechters voor Rechters verslag van deze bemiddeling.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Europe (of which Judges for Judges is a member) published a letter today, remembering the situation in Turkey and the violation of basic human rights in that country, mainly with regard to the right to a fair trial and an independent judiciary.
On October 20th 2018, Judges for Judges spoke to Larysa Holnyk in Kiev. Larysa is a judge in Poltava, a Ukrainian provincial town. Currently all judges in Ukraine have to undergo a qualification-assessment. This is one of the steps in the fight against corruption which the country has committed itself to by signing the European Association Agreement. This assessment checks whether a judge meets the criteria of expertise and integrity. Larysa’s assessment coincides with the transition from her temporary appointment (5 years) into a life-long appointment. Normally this a mere formality. Assessing all judges will last many years. At least 7.000 judges are required to undergo an assessment consisting of 4 parts. Whilst Larysa is still paid a salary she is not allowed to be an active trial judge as long as she has not completed all parts of the assessment. Nevertheless she has to turn up at her office every day. Whilst there are other judges in a similar situation Larysa Holnyk’s case stands out for other reasons.
She told us the following story:
In 2014 the president of her court allocated Larysa a case concerning a potential conflict of interest. In a vote on land distribution, the Mayor of Poltava had not mentioned his family ties with the interested party. The law requires that a suspect of such a crime must appear in court in person. It did not take long before the Mayor’s representative tried to contact Larysa in an effort to settle the matter ‘amicably’. Alas, this is very common practice in Ukraine. She managed to avoid him and instead set the dates for the hearing. The defendant kept finding excuses to have the hearings postponed e.g. work related travel or sudden illness, in apparent attempts to extend the procedure beyond the statute of limitations. Once again but more emphatically, Larysa received an offer on behalf of the Mayor to settle the case out of court. This time Larysa secretly recorded the conversation on her cell phone. Not only did Larysa refuse the offer in a light-hearted tone, she also reported the Mayor and his representative for attempted bribery.