Threats to independence of judges and lawyers; backsliding on violence against women (UN statements)
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today highlighted judicial corruption and threats to judges and lawyers in Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as regressive steps on violence against women in the United States of America and Russian Federation.
The statement, delivered during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, was as follows:
“The ICJ warmly welcomes the new Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers. As he has highlighted, ensuring judges are accountable for corruption and human rights violations, while respecting judicial independence, should be a global priority. Our Practitioners’ Guide on Judicial Accountability, published last year, should be of particular use to the Rapporteur and other actors in this regard.
Several situations serve as stark examples of other issues raised in his report. In Turkey, recent constitutional amendments give the President and Parliament control over the judiciary’s governing body. This has undermined the judiciary’s independence, already threatened by the mass dismissal of judges and the state of emergency. Lawyers and legal scholars, among others, are routinely dismissed or threatened by the authorities.
In Azerbaijan, the Bar Association is not independent and does not protect its members against undue interference with the exercise of their professional duties. Rather, it often serves as a tool of retaliation against independent human rights lawyers, including through disbarment proceedings that contravene international standards.
We would ask the Special Rapporteur for his views on the role his mandate can play in these and similar situations.
The ICJ also welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.
Despite increasing global acknowledgement of the grave and systemic nature of violence against women, some States continue to introduce regressive legislation undermining protections for women. For example, the Russian Federation’s decriminalization of certain forms of domestic violence, and attempts in some parts of the United States of America to restrict availability of sexual and reproductive healthcare, particularly impact on victims of sexual violence. The Philippines’ President’s public statements disregarding the gravity of sexual violence are another example. The ICJ would ask the Special Rapporteur what can be done to prevent such backsliding?”AdvocacyNon-legal submissions