Practice Advice on Democratic Institutions and Policy Process
Strengthening the Judiciary (UNDP)
Summary Advice: The UNDP suggests that strong judicial systems are needed to protect human rights, enforce the rule of law and develop the regulatory environment necessary for market-based economies. Governments need to develop a strong judicial and penal system that has the protection of human rights, security, and the upholding of the rule of law as its main goals.
Main Points: Independent judiciaries uphold the rule of law, bringing security and predictability to social, political and economic relations and assuring the protection of human rights. According to UNDP, there has been a growing recognition among development practitioners in many countries that without strong judicial systems to protect human rights and enforce the rule of law, neither internal peace nor development can be sustainable. The judicial system is essential to avoiding social and political violence that result from poverty, inequity, and injustice.
According to the UNDP, the following are the key principles that should be at the heart of any judicial system:
Independence: A country’s judicial system needs to be independent from political interference and power-brokers.
Protection of Human Rights: A strong, equitable and peaceful society requires a legal system established on the universal principles of the protection of human rights. This includes the eradication of ethnic, religious, or sexual discrimination and the promotion of free speech, association, and the media.
Enforcement of Security: The protection from crime, or the violations of life and property, is central to the evasion of social and political violence and the establishment of the regulatory environment that supports market economies.
Source: UNDP (1997). Management Development and Governance Division, "UNDP AND GOVERNANCE: Experiences and Lessons Learned" Lessons-Learned Series No. 1 at http://mirror.undp.org/magnet/docs/gov/Lessons1.htm#1.3 (accessed 01 November 2012).
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