- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 27 January 2010 (5th Sitting) (see Doc. 12058, report
of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur:
Mr Sasi). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27
January 2010 (5th Sitting). See also Recommendation 1896 (2010).
1 The Parliamentary Assembly observes
that a corrupt judicial system undermines the rule of law, which is
the backbone of a pluralist democracy; calls into question equal
treatment before the law as well as the right to a fair trial, and
erodes the legitimacy of all the public authorities.
Judicial corruption favours impunity, the eradication of which
the Assembly demanded as a priority in its Resolution 1675 (2009)
on the state
of human rights in Europe: the need to eradicate impunity.
3 Judicial corruption and corruption of other public institutions,
as well as of the private sector, nurture and reinforce each other.
Eradication of corruption, once it becomes entrenched, is much harder
than its prevention, hence the importance of combating the first
signs of corruption, especially in the countries unaffected by this
4 Corruption in general is to be fought by eradicating it in
the courts. The courts are responsible for imposing sanctions on
all corrupt individuals equally and objectively, and for protecting
the whistle-blowers who are indispensable for an effective drive
against all forms of corruption.
5 The Assembly stresses the importance of real political resolve,
to be expressed by tangible, energetic measures and not just by
speeches and largely token laws. An unsullied, independent justice
system fosters a political climate in which corruption and cronyism
become less frequent because they are riskier for everyone involved.
The Assembly deplores the fact that judicial corruption is
deeply embedded in many Council of Europe member states which are
also beset with serious problems of corruption in other public and
private institutions. According to the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer
published by Transparency International, some of these countries
– Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia and “the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia” – distinguish themselves very alarmingly in that it
is the justice system itself which is perceived by their population
as the most corrupt institution. This also applies to Kosovo,Note
which is not
a member state of the Council of Europe.
7 The Assembly urges the authorities of all the states mentioned
above to take stringent exceptional measures to restore the public’s
confidence in the judicial system.
8 The Assembly is preoccupied by a tendency in some states to
deny outright that any judicial corruption exists within them. As
no state is fully immune from corruption, particularly at the present
time of economic crisis, the Assembly invites all Council of Europe
member states to be self-critical and to undertake – as in Germany
– an in-depth study of the level of corruption in their judicial
systems and to take preventive and remedial measures at the first
sign of danger.
With respect to prevention, the Assembly encourages all member
states to establish a framework minimising the risks of judicial
9.1 ensuring that
judges, prosecutors and all agents of the justice process – especially
the representatives of the law-enforcement agencies – are aware
of the importance and dignity of their role, by guaranteeing commensurate
remuneration and by providing them with adequate human and material resources;
9.2 developing professional and ethical standards for judges
and prosecutors, together with effective monitoring machinery;
9.3 reviewing the private assets and income of judges and
prosecutors through a mechanism which is suited to the situation
in each country and must honour the independence and dignity of
9.4 ensuring that the procedures for recruiting, promoting
and dismissing judges and prosecutors are clear and transparent,
founded solely on qualification and merit, having regard to the
European Charter on the Statute for Judges and the recommendation
by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)
that all member states should have independent judicial councils comprising
members elected principally by the members of the judiciary;
9.5 ensuring that judges’ and prosecutors’ terms of office
are of sufficient length and are not linked with an external appraisal
of their decisions;
9.6 giving all judges and prosecutors specific training in
matters of corruption and ethics;
9.7 conducting public campaigns and/or programmes aimed at
increasing general respect for the judiciary and improving citizens’
understanding of the importance and implications of judicial independence
and the separation of powers.
In order to be effective the fight against corruption must
comprise investigations, prosecution and ultimately convictions.
Accordingly, the Assembly invites the member states to:
10.1 devise specific machinery to
ensure the accountability, criminal accountability included, of
judges and prosecutors without impairing their independence and
10.2 ensure that the immunities of members of the judiciary
do not impede effective proceedings against them;
10.3 provide specialised investigators with proper training
and adequate resources.
11 By way of a preventive as well as a punitive measure, the
Assembly invites all member states to sign and ratify, as appropriate,
the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No. 173) and the
Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ETS No. 174) and to co-operate
effectively with the supervisory and advisory mechanisms prescribed
by these instruments.
12 The Council of Europe has a duty to participate actively in
the fight against judicial corruption in all its forms, including
politically motivated abuses of the judicial system. The Assembly
particularly encourages its Committee on the Honouring of Obligations
and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring
Committee) either to draw up thematic reports on the subject or
at least to dedicate a substantial chapter to this issue in its
country reports for all countries undergoing a monitoring procedure
and in the context of post-monitoring dialogue.