The Importance of an Independent Judiciary

28 October 2009


On 28-29 October the Council of Europe (CoE) organized a two-day judicial training workshop for EULEX staff members. On day 1, the theme was “The Independence of International Judges and Autonomy of International Prosecutors”. The event took place at EULEX Police HQ.

This is the CoE’s first training undertaken in cooperation with EULEX, a partnership which CoE is very keen to continue in the future.

“It is very important to discuss and to find a way to protect the independence of judges and autonomy of prosecutors, so I hope this will not be only a lecture but a real workshop on the issue,” Maria Giuliana Civinini, President of Assembly of EULEX Judges, stated in her opening remarks.

In his introduction Andrea Cruciani, a former EULEX Judge, and now a CoE expert, spoke about the Rule of Law: “Everybody knows that the rule of law is an essential element of a democracy and of sustainability, and the independence of the judges and prosecutors is a key element of a functioning rule of law”, said Cruciani.

Cruciani emphasized that everyone should always keep in mind two facts: firstly, the concept of the separation of powers in government, and secondly, that the law has to limit the power of government.

Examples of some of the salient points made include: Some rights are inherent to every individual and cannot be infringed upon by government; the law has to comply with human rights, which are inherent to every individual.

International judges and prosecutors in general, and in particular in Kosovo, comprise an integral part of the judiciary. They work together with their local colleagues, in mixed teams with the aim of delivering impartial justice, he stated further. “The independence of judiciary is not a privilege but a precondition for ensuring impartiality”, commented Cruciani.

On the day 2 the theme will be Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.