Corruption poses serious threats to the rule of law in many Council of Europe member States, as noted in the Parliamentary Assembly’s recent Resolution 1943 (2013). Corruption in the judiciary undermines the trust in the judicial system, denies access to justice, infringes the right to a fair trial and favours impunity. According to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, the judiciary is perceived as the most bribery-prone institution in several member States (Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine).
The invaluable work of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), whose 4th Evaluation Round focuses, inter alia, on the prevention of corruption with regard to judges and prosecutors, shows that some States should make more effort in this respect, in particular by adopting, implementing and disseminating ethical rules for judges and prosecutors. In its Resolution 1703 (2010) on judicial corruption, the Assembly had already stressed the need to ensure the highest levels of professionalism and integrity. Despite the request in its Recommendation 1896 (2010), no guidelines on codes of conduct and ethics for judges have been adopted by the Committee of Ministers. Moreover, some member States are still not bound by key anti-corruption conventions.
As fighting corruption is one of the priorities of the Council of Europe for 2014-2015, as stressed by its Secretary General in January 2013, the Assembly should examine follow-up given by member States to its Resolution 1703 (2010). It should, in particular, investigate into the most flagrant cases of judicial corruption, reminding States of the need to ensure independence and efficiency of their judiciary and restore trust in it.