Category Archives: Special Rapporteur

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.

Continue reading Turkish judges in Strasbourg: an effective remedy?

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.

Continue reading Anniversaries: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Who judges the judges?

IMG_3328
Jolien Schukking (r) met Monica Pinto

Tijdens de jaarlijkse vergadering van de VN Mensenrechtenraad in Geneve organiseerde de International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), samen met de International Bar Association (IBA), ook dit jaar een weer een zogeheten Side Event, een bijeenkomst waarbij aandacht wordt gevraagd voor een bepaald thema. Het thema van de bijeenkomst op 14 juni jongstleden was ‘Who judges the judges? Accountability for judicial corruption and judicial complicity’. IMG_3329
Tijdens een panel discussie waaraan onder andere Monica Pinto, de nieuwe VN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and lawyers, en Thulani Maseko, een advocaat uit Swaziland die slachtoffer is geweest van judicial misconduct en lange tijd op arbitraire gronden gevangen heeft gezeten, deelnamen werd het thema besproken. De nadruk lag daarbij op wijze waarop en de procedures door middel waarvan dergelijk ongewenst rechterlijk gedrag kan worden aangepakt. Ook was er aandacht voor de situatie van landen in transitie, waar veelal de zittende rechterlijke macht nog nauwe banden heeft met het vorige regime. De veelheid en verscheidenheid aan vragen die door de aanwezige afgevaardigden van een groot aantal VN landen gesteld werden, gaf duidelijk aan dat dit een thema is dat leeft en dat, hoe precair ook, onze aandacht nodig heeft.
Rechters voor Rechters was een van de co-sponsors van het Side Event. Bestuurslid Jolien Schukking was hierbij aanwezig. Aan het einde van de bijeenkomst presenteerde de IBA een recent rapport Judicial Systems and Corruption en werd door Matt Pollard van het ICJ Centre for the Independence of Judges & Lawyers de ICJ Practitioners’ Guide on Judicial Accountability gelanceerd, een gids die praktisch informatie verschaft over de wijze waarop ernstig judicial misconduct zou kunnen worden bestreden en aangepakt. Deze gids kan worden gedownload via deze link.

UN statement: judicial accountability, attacks on lawyers

Judges for Judges joined a statement on June 16th delivered by the ICJ at the UN Human Rights Council, on judicial accountability, and attacks on lawyers. ICJ made the statement on behalf of a group of eight NGOs, including professional organisations of judges and lawyers.

The statement, read out by Swaziland lawyer Thulani Maseko during the Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, read as follows:

Madame Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers,

Our organizations strongly support your mandate. An independent judiciary and legal profession are essential to the rule of law and to the effective protection of human rights.

Independence and impartiality of the judiciary require integrity of individual judges and judicial institutions. Accordingly, there must be accountability for judicial corruption and judicial involvement in human rights violations.

Accountability mechanisms must themselves be independent, fair and transparent, in order to ensure they do not undermine the independence of the judiciary and that victims and the broader population see them as credible and accessible.

We note in this regard the International Commission of Jurists’ newly published Practitioners’ Guide on Judicial Accountability, and the International Bar Association’s recent report on Judicial systems and Corruption.

We also must highlight the growing problem of repression of lawyers who act in cases perceived to have human rights or political aspects, including through: harassment, suspension or disbarment; arrest, detention, unfair trial, and arbitrary imprisonment; torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, enforced disappearance, or even unlawful killings.

This is inconsistent with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and incompatible with the rule of law. It violates the rights of individual lawyers and undermines the independence of the legal profession. It denies the rights of the people the lawyers are trying to protect.

Among current examples, the scale and depth of repressive measures against lawyers and HRDs in China is particularly stark, but similar concerns arise in, for instance, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Tajikistan, and Vietnam. (I myself was arbitrarily imprisoned in my own country Swaziland, for publicly expressing my opinions about judicial misconduct.)icj

We accordingly will urge lawyers, legal professional associations and others around the world to respond to the questionnaire you have prepared for your upcoming General Assembly report on the legal profession.

I thank you.

Continue reading UN statement: judicial accountability, attacks on lawyers

UN Statement: indicators of independence of justice systems

Judges for Judges today joined a statement delivered by the International Bar Association on indicators of independence of justice systems. The statement ibahricame during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

It read as follows:

As international organisations of legal professionals, we endorse the recommendation made by the Special Rapporteur to develop a set of international indicators to assess the independence of justice systems.

The Special Rapporteur has previously stated: ‘No ideal justice system exists; rather, there are universal principles that must be respected in the structure and functioning of any judicial system, so that it can duly fulfil its purpose’. (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, (2014) UN Doc A/69/294, para 92.)

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16 – that is, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions – will require respect for the universal principles of independence and impartiality of justice systems and the independence of the legal profession.

In 2015, the International Bar Association (IBA) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) proposed two indicators under SDG16, regarding the independence of the judiciary and an independent and self-governing legal profession. The IBA is currently developing ‘indicia of independence’ that can be used to assess the state of independence of the legal profession in a given jurisdiction. The Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) and the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) continue to monitor judicial and legal independence through the Commonwealth Latimer House Working Group.

We therefore, Madam Special Rapporteur, fully support your endeavour to develop universal indicators that complete the UN Rule of Law Indicators, and build on the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors.

We further call upon States to ensure that national targets and indicators duly align with international indicators and international principles.

Thank you, Mr President

Continue reading UN Statement: indicators of independence of justice systems

Informele bijeenkomst Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto en NGO-supportgroup

Evert van der Molen overhandigt exemplaar Matters of Principle aan Monica Pinto
Evert van der Molen overhandigt exemplaar Matters of Principle aan Monica Pinto

Op uitnodiging van Monica Pinto, de speciale rapporteur voor de onafhankelijkheid van rechters en advocaten bij de Verenigde Naties, vond op 16 september 2015, eveneens in Genève, een informele bijeenkomst plaats waarvoor NGO’s als International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Human Right Watch (HRW)) en ook Rechters voor Rechters (RR) waren uitgenodigd. In totaal waren vertegenwoordigers van zo’n 15 NGO’s aanwezig. RR werd vertegenwoordigd door bestuurslid Evert van der Molen.

Monica Pinto vertelde in haar openingswoord dat zij erg is ingenomen met de hoge opkomst en dat zij graag ideeën zou vernemen over de thema’s die de komende tijd prioriteit moeten krijgen. Dat leverde een staalkaart van suggesties op. Om er enkele te noemen Continue reading Informele bijeenkomst Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto en NGO-supportgroup

25/30 jaar Basic Principles on the Independence van rechters en advocaten

20150915_Side Event UNRechters voor rechters bij bijeenkomst Genève op 15 september 2015 ter gelegenheid van 25/30 jaar Basic Principles on the Independence van rechters en advocaten

Op uitnodiging van de International Bar Association’s Human Right Institute (IBAHRI) en de International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) werd op dinsdag 15 september 2015 met een bijeenkomst in het Palais de Nations in Geneve de 25/30 ste verjaardag gemarkeerd van de Basic Pinciples. Namens Rechters voor Rechters was bestuurslid Evert van der Molen hierbij aanwezig. De bijeenkomst was een “side-event” van de Mensenrechtenraad.

Inleidingen werden verzorgd door onder meer Monica Pinto, de kersverse Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges en lawyers, Anne Ramberg, secretaris generaal van de Zweedse balie, Irene Patras, uitvoerend directeur van de Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights en Nazir Afzal, een gepensioneerd procureur generaal uit Groot Brittannië. Continue reading 25/30 jaar Basic Principles on the Independence van rechters en advocaten

UN Side Event: 30 Years Protecting Legal Professionals

Judges, lawyers, prosecutors and human rights: 30 years of UN action

Tuesday 15 September 2015, 1600 – 1800

Room XXII, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Followed by a drinks reception hosted by the IBA’s Human Rights Institute
in Bar Serpent, Palais des Nations

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) invite you to attend a side event at the Palais des Nations marking the 30th Anniversary of the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the 25th Anniversary of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors. This side-event, taking place during the 30th session of the Human Rights Council, will look back on the progress that has been made in the protection of judges, lawyers and prosecutors over the past 30 years and the continuing challenges for implementation of the UN standards. Continue reading UN Side Event: 30 Years Protecting Legal Professionals

Special reporter Gabriela Knaul and Tunesia

218px-Flag_of_Tunisia.svgThe special reporter on the independence of judges and lawyers to the UN, Gabriela Knaul, has urged the Tunisian authorities in December 2014 to implement provisions concerning the judiciary in the new constitution. This concerns in particular the provisions guaranteeing the independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, such as the establishment of a Supreme Judicial Council and Constitutional Court. The achievements of the new constitution must become a reality. This must be done in accordance with the timetable set out in the constitu-tion, said Knaul. She makes this statement after a fact-finding mission of nine days in Tunesia. Based on these findings, Knaul will issue a report to the Human Rights Council in June. She has requested renewed attention to the dismissal of 80 judges in 2012. 32 of these judges have appealed this decision. Knaul says that these procedures are not considered to be fair and honest and she asks the parliament to ensure due process. Judges for Judges investigating the possibility look after the interests of these judges.

Read Knaul’s speech to the Tunisian authorities at the end of her visit: [www.ohochr.org].

Source: [www.constitutionnet.org/fr].

Mensenrechtenraad (15 juni – 3 juli 2015)

United NationsOp dit moment (15 juni – 3 juli 2015) vindt in Geneve de 29ste sessie plaats van de Human Rights Council (HRC) van de Verenigde Naties. Nederland is van 2015- 2017 lid van deze Mensenrechtenraad.

Deze week presenteert ook Gabriela Knaul, de Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers haar nieuwste rapport ‘Protecting Children’s Rights in the Justice System’.Rechters voor Rechters is voor een aantal bijeenkomsten uitgenodigd die in de marge van deze grote internationale vergadering plaatsvinden. Immers niet alleen de landendelegaties zijn op dit moment in Geneve, ook vele vertegenwoordigers van NGO’s op mensenrechtengebied verblijven deze weken korter of langer in deze mooie stad.

Een hele nuttige manier dus om veel verschillende mensen te zien en te spreken en nuttige contacten te leggen of te verdiepen voor Rechters voor Rechters. Continue reading Mensenrechtenraad (15 juni – 3 juli 2015)