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Integrity, Independence and Accountability of the Judiciary – Centre of Expertise Programme

2

Programme Rationale

Why work on the judiciary?

Corruption is undermining justice in many parts of the world.

When corruption affects the

judiciary, it fundamentally annuls the basic human right to a fair trial and denies citizens an impartial

settlement of disputes with their neighbours, service providers or the authorities. A corrupt judiciary

becomes captured by political and economic interests and bends judgements to serve the interests of

a few, favouring inequality as opposed to delivering justice to all. In addition, corruption within the

judiciary leaves corruption above the law in every other branch of government and economic activity

in which it may have taken root.

The global fight against corruption depends on the effectiveness of judicial systems.

National

and international anti-corruption laws rely on fair and impartial systems for enforcement, and the

judiciary has a key role to play in reducing corruption by acting as an effective safeguard and

sanctioning those found to be in breach of relevant laws and regulations. A culture of impunity fed by

a systematic failure to sanction the corrupt sends a blunt message to the people: that corruption is

tolerated.

Only an independent, accountable and impartial judiciary is able to uphold individual rights and

prevent abuse of power by state and non-state actors. TI’s work has shown that

the

judiciary is

often unable or unwilling to fulfil its mandate effectively.

In many countries it is paralysed not

only by corruption within the sector itself but also by political or economic interference, weak

legislative frameworks, or/ and lack of resources. As a result, citizens’ trust in the state is undermined,

and the quality of overall governance is diminished.

Engaging a diverse spectrum of actors is critical

for breaking this vicious cycle by collectively

demanding greater transparency, accountability and integrity from a country’s judicial sector. Firstly,

civil society organizations

such as TI have an important part to play in representing their society’s

interest by both acting as a watchdog and engaging as a ‘critical friend’. Secondly,

donors and other

international stakeholders

can influence the character of a judicial system when allocating financial

and technical aid to justice sector reforms. Lastly, citizens can play an important role in demanding

changes if provided with the channels to hold the judiciary accountable for delivering justice and for

sanctioning the corrupt.

Why establish a Centre of Expertise?

Since the 2007 Global Corruption Report on the Judiciary,

many TI Chapters across the TI

Movement have gained significant experience in working on and with the judiciary

, for example

by examining the judiciary as a key pillar in their country’s national integrity system, conducting other

research to assess the extent of judicial corruption in their country, leading awareness campaigns,

facilitating citizens’ access to justice, or developing mechanisms to allow citizens to observe, monitor,

and discuss judicial decisions (for additional information, see Annex I). More than 50 TI Chapters

worldwide are now supporting victims and witnesses of corruption through Advocacy and Legal

Advice Centres (ALACs). Yet, this existing body of experience across the TI Movement has not been

fully leveraged and presents a tremendous opportunity to build upon. Through increased knowledge

sharing and more coordinated collective action, the national and international impact of TI’s work on

the judiciary can be substantially increased.

The proposed

Centre of Expertise Programme

designed by TI Romania – a TI Chapter with

relevant issue expertise and proven commitment to putting itself at the service of the global TI

Movement – aims at strengthening the TI Movement’s advocacy capacity on the integrity,

independence and accountability of the judiciary. It addresses needs and responds to interest

expressed by TI Chapters across regions during a multi-phased consultation process that took place

over a period of 18 months (see section below).