This paper was prepared for a conference entitled “Transnational Judicial Dialogue: Strengthening Networks and Mechanisms for Judicial Consultation and Cooperation,” held at Harvard Law School on December 1-2, 2006 and sponsored by the American Society of International Law and Harvard Law School.*
Honorable Justice Sandra Day O’Connor,
Honorable Justice Richard Goldstone,
Honorable Presiding officers and members of Supreme Courts, Constitutional Courts and other Courts,
Distinguished members of the Judiciary and legal professionals from around the world,
Distinguished authorities and representatives of the two convening entities, and of all the organizations and associations here present,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I feel extremely honored to address this unique gathering in the very prestigious context of the world-renowned Harvard Law School, a leading center of thinking and research on crucial challenges facing our world. I salute the initiative of the two convening entities, the American Society for International Law and Harvard Law School. This gathering is extremely timely and relevant. And, indeed, it is a rare privilege to see such a number of highly experienced judicial actors and representatives of entities concerned with justice and its independence sitting together
for a think-tank on such topical issues as those on our agenda. I thus look forward to very stimulating and fruitful discussions and to the emergence of fresh ideas and strategies.
I am talking today based on my daily experience as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers. Yet, rather than reflecting on current world juridical and judicial developments, which are central to my
mandate, I would like to focus on an emerging phenomenon that I consider extremely important, timely, and worth contemplating. I refer to the involvement of judges and lawyers in defending and consolidating the independence of the judiciary around the world. Through my work as U.N. Rapporteur, I can testify to various inspiring good practices in this respect, which go far beyond a narrow corporative approach of judicial institutions. Both individually and through their networks, judges and lawyers are, and should increasingly be seen as, key actors in international efforts aimed at securing independent judiciaries and, through them, the right to fair and efficient justice for all. This is why I am personally interested in stimulating and diversifying such involvement.
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