Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Office to the United Nations – New York
36th Anniversary of the UN Basic Principles
on the Independence of the Judiciary
“Guardians of an Independent
Judiciary: The role of media,
parliamentarians, and nongovernmental
The independence of the judiciary and the legal profession is an essential component for courts to fulfill their role as guardians of the rule of law, human
rights, and fundamental freedoms of the people.
With this aim in mind, the UN General Assembly endorsed with resolutions 40/32 of 29 November 1985 and 40/146 of 13 December 1985 the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary which previously had been adopted by the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Milan in September 1985.
Particularly in recent years, we note increasing attacks on Judges and Lawyers and interference in judicial processes by state and non-state actors. These
threats include inter alia personal attacks, public backlash, sudden changes within the structure of judicial administration, unconstitutional removal of
judges, corrupt practices carried out by other branches of government, political parties, private sector, and organized crime groups.
All of them are broad assaults on democratic principles and affect citizens and human rights.
Institutions such as the UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, professional associations, but also the media and members of parliament have an important role to play. They can raise awareness of violations and can enhance the level of accountability for potential interferences.
With those guardians for the independence of the Judiciary, we would like to discuss the current trends globally and what role each of them can play.
Mrs. Andrea E. Ostheimer, KAS Representative to the United Nations, New York
• Diego García-Sayán UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
• Adam Bodnar Member of Parliament, Poland
• Branko Brkic Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Maverick, South Africa
• Carlos Dada Editor in Chief, El Faro, El Salvador
Moderated by: Dr. Mónica Castillejos-Aragón, KAS New York