Chief Justices gather in Swakopmund – wish to prevent corruption in the justice system

Chief Justices from various African countries gathered in Swakopmund last week for the final regional preparatory meeting for the upcoming Global Judicial Integrity Network. The meeting took place on 16 and 17 October.
The delegates from a total of 17 countries shared their needs and expectations in terms of capacity-building support, advisory services, tools, networking opportunities and other resources and how best to meet these demands. The meeting was a runner-up for the upcoming Global Judicial Integrity Network, the world’s first-ever global platform dedicated exclusively to upholding judicial integrity and preventing corruption within the justice system. This event will be launched in April 2018.
During the opening ceremony the President Chief Justice of the Peoples’ Supreme Court of Cuba, Ruben Remigio Ferro, said the central theme of this meeting is the strengthening of judicial integrity and the prevention of corruption in the justice system. He described it as “of paramount importance for all States, because of its significance for the effectiveness and transparency in the functioning of the judicial systems in any of our nations”. He said that is also crucial in his home country, the Republic of Cuba.
Ferro also said one of the fundamental pillars of a State-based system is the rule of law and legal certainty. Justice institutions has a pivotal role to play to ensure and guarantee the rule of law prevails and that legal certainty is upheld.
“This important role can only be properly fulfilled if the judges, who are part the judiciary, behave and act as unblemished, irreproachable and incorruptible public servants.
According to Ferror the mission of judges is not to be simple enforcers of norms and dispositions to the case before them, but also implies the duty to do so with a clear notion and sense of what is fair, so that their decisions are characterised not only by their legal support, but also by their transparency and the level of equity, rationality and weighting they denote.
The delegates also discussed challenges which need to be overcome, including continuous attempts of the executive and the legislature in some countries to interfere with judicial decision-making and judicial appointments, among others. The participants welcomed the proposal to launch a Global Judicial Integrity Network as a platform to allow for further global exchanges around issues of mutual concern, to access resources and capacity building opportunities and to develop new tools.
The creation of the Global Judicial Integrity Network is part of the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC’s) Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, which was adopted by the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015. The Global Programme provides support and technical assistance to member-States across the world in areas of judicial integrity, prisoners’ rehabilitation, youth crime prevention, and education for justice, all with the objective of promoting a culture of lawfulness and boosting respect for the rule of law.

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