In striving to guarantee the protection of human rights and the rule of law, judges and lawyers are often attacked or persecuted for nothing more than the lawful discharge of their professional duties.
When such attacks occur, the ICJ may intervene to guarantee judicial independence and respect for judicial institutions. Actions taken by the ICJ may include confidential interventions with the government, mobilisation of the ICJ network to lobby governments, press releases, fact-finding missions or trial observations.
The ICJ believes that civil society, including ICJ’s network, has the opportunity to transform the culture of impunity that all too frequently is associated with those who harass and/or persecute judges and lawyers. By informing the ICJ of cases where judges and lawyers are harassed/persecuted, you will be providing us with indispensable information that can help to protect the independence of judges and lawyers world wide.
Harassment and persecution may take the form of: physical assault (or threat) against a judge or lawyer; detention (or threats) of a judge or lawyer; disciplinary proceeding (or threats) against a judge or lawyer without just cause; partisan statements made to the press by government officials concerning the decision(s) or conduct of judges or lawyers. This is not a closed list and many more actions against judges, lawyers, their association or the judiciary could be considered as harassment. The overall deciding factor is whether harassment or persecution has the consequence of interfering in the professional discharge of the lawyers’ or judges’ duties.
The mission of the ICJ, carried out by its Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, covers harassment and persecution of judges or lawyers as they are considered as the guardians of the rule of law. In cases where there are victims who are neither judges nor lawyers, you should contact other human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, Organisation Mondial Contre la Torture, Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme and others, or the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
If you know of a case where a judge or lawyer has been harassed or persecuted please send us information. We will carefully analyse the information and decide whether we can take any course of action.
The ICJ has designed a Case Alert Form and Guidelines. This form is highly useful in guaranteeing that the ICJ receives all the necessary details required to take any action. We highly encourage you to complete this form and send it to us as soon as you are aware of the harassment of a judge or lawyer.