Defending the Rule of Law is now the business of all jurists, individually and collectively!
Dear jurist, academic, legal practitioner and student friends,
As everyone has observed especially for last few years, judicial actors generally found themselves in a position to criticize the harshness imposed on justice, which is currently inaccessible to the poor and unable to effectively prosecute financial and environmental crimes. Denouncing the attacks on independence of judiciary, or its ability to resist pressures of all kinds, -political and economic- also stands out as the task of jurists.
More serious are the threats to justice, judges and lawyers – sometimes even to their lives – in certain Western countries, including some within the Council of Europe or the European Union. As in Turkey, where at least 700 magistrates out of the 2,500 arrested in 2016 are still in prison, 150 of them in solitary confinement for more than four years now. Or in Poland, where on 11 January 2020, delegations of European magistrates manifested in Warsaw shoulder to shoulder with their Polish colleagues and the people of Poland, to denounce the serious attacks on the independence of judges and the Rule of Law.
To discredit the judges who expose themselves in public spaces, they are regularly accused of “militancy”. They are called “red judges” or “politicians”. Sometimes “unelected activists”, disrespectful of their duty of neutrality. In this context, it is worth remembering that, one of the stated claims by Polish government is to “depoliticize” the judiciary and to eradicate its so-called last communist ferments?
On the contrary, within Justice for Rule of Law, we believe that the activism of judicial actors stems from a virtuous existentialism. Committed jurists are seeking to raise the alarm and fight the dangers which currently weigh in Europe and elsewhere, not only on their effectiveness and their independence, but also on public freedoms or respect for minorities. In doing so, they are seeking to see the concretization or perpetuation of the democratic ideals and the rule of law which were gained through international consensus after 1945. Moreover, this is the recommendation made to them by the European Court of Human Rights in its Baka v. Hungary decision on 23 June 2016, which reads:
(ECHR) refers in this connection to the Council of Europe instruments, which recognise that each judge is responsible for promoting and protecting judicial independence and that judges and the judiciary should be consulted and involved in the preparation of legislation concerning their statute and, more generally, the functioning of the judicial system.
Faced with a political world that now regularly disregards the principles of the Rule of Law and democracy, we are therefore convinced that it is now the responsibility of jurists to engage and oppose the unjustifiable in order to defend this continent of values, public freedoms and rights that the democratic leaders bequeathed to future generations after the Second World War. Obviously, in each case where these values are endangered, this struggle should be waged collectively and in fraternity in the public space by issuing the alert as often as necessary, with the greatest firmness.
This is therefore our objective to prevent anti-democratic regressions, defend the Rule of Law as well as to support the jurists threatened or pursued by illiberal and populist governments. It is a matter of courage, of collective intelligence, but above all, a matter of solidarity.
Join us and support us, so that, together we vigorously ensure respect for these founding values of democracy!