Without judicial independence, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ensure that a number of fundamental rights are protected. For example, how can individuals accused of a crime be guaranteed a fair trial without first ensuring that those trying them are independent? Who, if not an independent judiciary, will ensure that effective remedies are provided in the event that individual rights are breached by the state or state officials? Indeed, judicial independence is one of the hallmarks of a state that respects the concept of separation of powers.
Following a thorough assessment and analysis of the state of judicial independence in a number of participating States and a regional conference of experts in Kyiv in June 2010, ODIHR published the “Kyiv Recommendations on Judicial Independence in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia” as a tool based on OSCE commitments. The document consists of policy suggestions in three areas that are of particular relevance for judicial independence: (1) judicial administration with a focus on judicial councils, judicial self-governing bodies, and the role of court chairs; (2) judicial selection criteria and procedures; and (3) accountability of judges and judicial independence in adjudication.
ODIHR uses these recommendations to design targeted follow-up activities aimed at furthering ongoing discussions on judicial reform in a number of participating States. Such activities have taken place in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and the Russian Federation.