STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION
E-justice: Sharing national experiences in enhancing transparency, effectiveness and access to justice
June 1, 2016
Delivered by Federica Scala, Legal Officer, IDLO
Check against delivery
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me thank at the outset the Permanent Missions of Italy, Mexico, and Turkey to the United Nations, and the UN Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group for organizing this important event.
Last September governments adopted what was defined as a truly transformational, universal, and ambitious Agenda, where economic growth, social progress and environmental protection are pursued in an integrated, mutually reinforcing way. An Agenda that deliberately seeks to leave no one behind and to empower all to contribute to the development effort.
IDLO, as the only intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to advancing the rule of law, played a key role in the negotiations of the new sustainable development framework. We, at IDLO, drew a strong distinction between the rule by law and the rule of law. We recognized that the law can be an instrument to entrench discrimination while the rule of law is a strategic instrument of progress and change, a key means to make human rights legally enforceable. In this outcome-oriented perspective of the rule of law, not only the contents of the law but also the way it is administered becomes crucial.
Following the adoption of Agenda 2030, the international community attention shifted from the “what” to the “how”. The Goals to be achieved by 2030 are clear and well defined; the real challenge is to understand how those aspiring Goals can be achieved.
The answer to this question comes from the “means of implementation”: from finance to capacity building and technology transfer. The role that ICTs can play in the development spectrum is, to say the least, remarkable. It is indeed difficult to think of any factor, outside the technology domain, that has the potential for “universal” reach and cooperation other than the ICTs.
ICTs application in all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental - proved its ability to combat poverty, fight inequalities and exclusion, and foster sustainable development through the empowerment of people, especially the most vulnerable ones.
Like ICTs, the law works across the spectrum of Agenda 2030 by enabling society to tackle the big development challenges the world is facing today: from poverty to lack of water and sanitation, from gender discrimination to irresponsible consumption and production - just to name a few. It comes as no surprise therefore, that the combination of ICTs and law is an extremely powerful tool, not only to implement Goal 16 but to enable countries to achieve the entire set of Goals embedded in Agenda 2030.
Today we are focusing our attention on Goal 16 and more precisely on strengthening justice systems: by sharing their best practices, presenters have showed today that the use of technology in the justice sector can enhance transparency, effectiveness, accountability, and easier access to legal information.
IDLO truly believes in the importance of access to legal information. In this regard, let me remind you the event IDLO organized last June at the UN - in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Italy and Uruguay to the UN, UNDESA and IPU - on this very specific topic, which highlighted the importance of free and timely provision of access to legal information by governments as a crucial means for achieving sustainable development.
The use of technology in the justice sector is a multifaceted concept: on the one end, it refers to the relationship between the justice sector and the end users of justice; on the other end, it refers to the effective cooperation and communication among the different players within the justice system.
This dichotomy contributes, in both cases, to reinforcing the justice system both internally and externally, while reinforcing trust in public institutions and promoting human rights. Last but not least, ICTs can strengthen any justice system regardless of its nature - civil law or common law systems for instance, while different, can equally benefit from it - therefore promoting a key principle such as legal pluralism.
Sharing national experiences and expertise on the use of ICTs in the justice sector is essential not only to the follow up and review process of Agenda 2030 but also to support and empower other countries to follow the successful path of e-justice and e-governance. In this context, further exchanges of practices and knowledge among Member States should be encouraged as a way to assess the state of play and identify capacity building needs.
IDLO looks forward to collaborate with you all and provide its unique experience and technical knowledge in the field of rule of law and access to justice that made our Organization an international thought leader.