Friday, May 25, 2007
International corruption watchdog Transparency International issued its 2007 Global Corruption Report, and the focus is on judicial corruption. The organization notes that "a corrupt judiciary erodes the international community’s ability to prosecute transnational crime and inhibits access to justice and redress for human rights violations. It undermines economic growth by damaging the trust of the investment community, and impedes efforts to reduce poverty." According to TI's analysis:
The importance of an independent judiciary cannot be overemphasised. Everyone loses when justice is corrupted, particularly the poor, who are forced to pay bribes they cannot afford. Transparency International’s latest global survey of attitudes towards corruption reveals that in more than 25 countries, at least one in 10 households had to pay a bribe to get access to justice. Corruption in the judiciary includes any inappropriate influence on the impartiality of judicial proceedings and judgements and can extend to the bribing of judges for favourable decisions, or no decision at all.
Judicial corruption includes:
- the misuse of judicial funds and power (ie. nepotism or manipulation of contracts for court construction and equipment)
- biased case allocation and bias in other pre-trial procedures (ie. court clerks bribed to "lose" files and evidence)
- influence of any trial or court settlement, and the enforcement - or not - of court decisions and sentences
Bribery, the other dark thread of judicial corruption, can occur throughout the fabric of the judicial process.