Judicial Independence and Integrity

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In South East Europe, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung – in particular with its Rule of Law Program South East Europe – lobbies for the approach to EU standards as well as for rule of law and the respect of human rights. Part of the latter is primarily the independence and integrity of the justice system.

The installation of an efficient, transparent and independent justice system, the bond of public forces - such as executive and legislature - to law and justice, as well as the establishment and strengthening of independent control institutions (e.g. anti-corruption agencies), is one of the principal goals of the Rule of Law Program South East Europe (RLP SEE).

Ultimately, this can only be achieved if those who are active in the justice sector, the control institutions and the parliaments have developed a sufficient awareness for the rule of law and, more importantly, if they are willing to act primarily according to the rule of law and not to personal interest. In order to promote this goal, instruments for social control of efficiency and willingness to perform need to be developed and their purpose-related usage needs to be discussed. It is crucial to spread and implement an ethical attitude among judges, prosecutors and other employees in the public sector.

The RLP promotes the professionalism and integrity of legal professions by clarifying the international and regional standards for the ethical behavior of judges and prosecutors, by fostering the development and application of these standards on a national level and by supporting the further development of laws and measures for the avoidance of conflicts of interest. Another instrument is the organization of dialogue events which aim at sensitizing the public officers to ethic topics by self-reflection.

The promotion of transparency and free access to public information is a crucial aspect of the Rule of Law Program. After all, the RLP SEE wishes to intensify the awareness of the close correlation between corruption/organized crime and the violation of fundamental human rights. This becomes especially evident in the sector of human trafficking which is still not yet subject to profound human rights protection.

In 2006 and 2007, the RLP SEE has primarily supported the two new EU member states of Romania and Bulgaria to remedy the remaining deficiencies in the justice sector and the fight against corruption. The RLP SEE has primarily supported the cooperation with governmental and non-governmental institutions by organizing, hosting, and/or supporting dialogue events. Among those events were seminars with judges, attorneys, representatives of governmental justice bodies, and representatives of legal non-governmental organizations on such topics as influence and pressure factors in the judicature, the status and the role of attorneys and the dealing of courts with high-level corruption. .