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HRC 56 | Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

Statement by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

25 June 2024

Thank you, Mr. President,

We would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for her report. We concur with her assertion that “to protect the separation of powers, the rule of law and participatory governance, more must be done to revitalize public trust in justice institutions and to defend justice actors and their indispensable role in safeguarding democracy”.

Drawing on the IDLO’s 40 years of global experience, several key lessons emerge in safeguarding the independence of judicial systems amidst contemporary challenges to democracy. We are pleased to see these same lessons emphasized in the Special Rapporteur’s report.

First, strengthening legal frameworks to ensure judicial independence and integrity is critical. In addition to legal reforms, IDLO provides training resources and helps judicial officers in understanding how to uphold the principles of independence and integrity in their work.

Second, we must ensure adequate resources and support for the judiciary. Proper funding leads to efficiencies and greater capacity to address corruption. It also enhances people’s access to and use of the justice system, which builds confidence in institutions.

Third, legal empowerment can expand access to justice in a rapid, inexpensive, and concrete way. This means placing people at the center of justice, educating them about their rights, and ensuring they can shape laws and transform unfair and harmful regulations. The inclusion of youth, the empowerment of women and girls and other historically excluded groups is also essential for the ‘whole of society’ approaches needed to tackle complex and interlinked crises.

Fourth, an independent and impartial judiciary is vital for restoring public trust. Judges and lawyers play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights. Their independence must be safeguarded to prevent abuses of power and ensure that justice is served impartially.

Finally, international cooperation and exchange of best practices, such as platforms where judges, lawyers and other legal professionals can share experiences and strategies, can build resilient judicial institutions that can withstand external pressures.

We look forward to contributing to stronger, more independent judicial systems capable of upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all.