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United Nations Standards and Norms in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Report of the Secretary-General: Use and Application of the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary

NCJ Number
Date Published
21 pages
This United Nations (UN) report contains information received from member countries and other sources on the use and application of Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary; drawing on the experience gained from previous surveys, the report takes into account specific recommendations made by the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
Responses were received from 57 member countries and five nongovernmental organizations. Almost all countries reported that independence of the judiciary was constitutionally guaranteed and that the judiciary could decide matters both impartially and independently from "external forces" (police, prosecutors, offenders, lawyers, politicians, government agencies, social groups, and public opinion). Nearly all countries said that the judiciary had jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and that the judiciary had exclusive authority to decide whether an issue was within its competence as defined by law. Numerous countries reported that the judiciary always had the power to overrule actions of the executive on both substantive and procedural grounds. Almost all countries said that everyone had the right to be tried by ordinary courts or tribunals using established legal procedures, that everyone convicted of a crime had the right to a review of his or her conviction and sentence by a higher tribunal, and that the judiciary was provided with adequate resources to perform its functions properly. Judicial selection procedures differed greatly by country, and judges in civil law countries were usually appointed after having completed special education. Many countries reported that the remuneration received by judges ensured they could afford at least an average living standard. In addition, many countries had established policies relative to pensions, guaranteed tenure, promotion, case assignment, professional secrecy, personal immunity, discipline, suspension, and removal. 1 note and 1 table