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Rule of law: states slow to make changes to boost judges’ independence

Several Council of Europe member States are still not implementing some Assembly recommendations aimed at securing “a fully independent and decently resourced judiciary” PACE’s Standing Committee has concluded.

Approving a report by Marieluise Beck (Germany, ALDE) today in Paris, the committee made fresh assessments of the state of the rule of law in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France and Belarus – states with a variety of legal systems throwing up “issues of variable nature and gravity” – following a series of Assembly recommendations made between 2007 and 2010.

  • In Russia, key PACE recommendations to strengthen the independence of the judiciary have not been implemented, and lawyers, journalists and human rights activists continue to be intimidated.
  • In Ukraine, the instigators as well as the perpetrators of the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze still need to be held to account.
  • In Germany, there is still a need for greater judicial self-administration and more independence for prosecutors, as well as pay rises for judges.
  • In France, despite some progress, judges and prosecutors’ representatives could have a still stronger role, and the judiciary remains seriously underfunded.
  • In Belarus, a non-member State, abuses of the criminal justice system to persecute political opponents continue, and senior officials suspected of involvement in high-profile disappearances have not been held to account.