Principles can help raise levels of judicial integrity and accountability around the world
Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former Vice President of the International Court of Justice and chair of the international Judicial Integrity Group today welcomed the endorsement of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct by the Member States of the UN Commission on Human Rights at its 59th Session in Geneva.
Speaking on behalf of the Group which developed the Principles, he said they had the potential to strengthen and enhance levels of judicial integrity and accountability in countries around the world.
"These Principles have been formulated by national and international judges working together for a common purpose. They should help not only to render judicial institutions ethically stronger, but also, through their implementation by the judicial branch, assist in strengthening the independence of judicial institutions," he said.
Judge Weeramantry said that the Principles will be used around the world, not only as a guide in fashioning new national codes of judicial conduct, but also as a reference for testing and revising existing national codes.
In a UN resolution passed today, Member States noted the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct adopted at the Round-Table Meeting of Chief Justices held in the Peace Palace in The Hague on 25-26 November 2002, and brought the Principles to the attention of Member States, the relevant United Nations organs and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations for their consideration.
"This is a significant step towards making judges accountable for their conduct. These Principles will complement the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary," Judge Weeramantry concluded.
Steps are already under way to implement the new Principles in both Nigeria and Uganda.
Notes to Editors:The Judicial Integrity Group, which is chaired by Judge Weeramantry (Sri Lanka), comprises the Chief Justices of Bangladesh, Egypt, Karnataka State in India, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, and senior judges from Australia and Canada. Those who attended the Round-Table Meeting included the Judges of the International Court of Justice from Madagascar, Hungary, Germany, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, Brazil, Egypt and the United States of America, and the Chief Justices of Brazil, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway and the Philippines. Others involved in the consultative process included the 40-member Consultative Council of European Judges. The Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers participated as Observers. Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia has functioned as Rapporteur; Dr Nihal Jayawickrama (Sri Lanka) as Co-ordinator; and Mr Jeremy Pope (of Transparency International) as Resource Person. The initiative has been facilitated throughout by the Department for International Development, United Kingdom.
The Bangalore Principles take their name from the Indian city of Bangalore, where a meeting of the Judicial Integrity Group took place in February 2001. The Bangalore meeting included Chief Justices and senior judges from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.
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Dr Nihal Jayawickrama
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