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Factorii de Presiune si Conflictele de Interese in Justitie - Ghid Pentru Judecatori

Handbook for Judges on Pressure Factors and Conflicts of Interest in the Judiciary

The right of each person to an independent and impartial tribunal is a fundamental human right, and a pillar of a democratic state based on the rule of the law. The State parties to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) – one of which is Romania – have recognized this right through their ratification of the ECHR. Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Convention states: “[E]veryone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law”.The independence and impartiality of a judge, both personal and substantive, can be influenced and endangered by various internal and external pressure factors and conflict of interest situations. Judicial independence can only be effectively defended against such factors and situations through a multi-faceted approach which must include not only institutional and normative instruments, but also awareness-raising and consciousness-building measures. Among the latter are seminars which help judges and those responsible for guaranteeing judicial independence to reflect upon which pressure factors and conflict of interest situations exist, why and how they can negatively impact judicial independence, and how judges can deal with these situations in their daily work.This publication, and its best practice guidelines, are the product of such seminars. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, through its Rule of Law Program South East Europe and working together with the Society for Justice, organized these seminars in seven Romanian court districts (Tg. Mures, Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, Suceava, Focsani, Timisoara, and Slatina) throughout 2006. The guidelines come from the participants’ observations and comments in the seminars as well as from their answers to a questionnaire in which the judges were asked inter alia to define the terms “pressure factors” and “conflicts of interest”, as well as to describe whether the institutional, normative, and practical protections against such influences are sufficient. The guidelines are intended to serve Romanian judges as a tool for dealing with pressure factors and conflict of interest situations in their daily work, thus contributing to the further improvement of the independence of the Romanian judiciary. The support for the establishment and strengthening of a rational, accessible, transparent, impartial, and efficient justice system, with a special emphasis on promoting the independence of the judiciary, is one of the primary goals of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Rule of Law Program South East Europe. Dr. iur. Stefanie Ricarda Roos, M.A.L.D.Director, Rule of Law Program South East EuropeBucharest, February 2007