THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL CONFERENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SIGNING
THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION
Mexico, 9 December 2003
Appeal to Judges Worldwide
Mr. Hans Corell
Under-Secretan,-General for Legal Affairs
The Legal Counsel
my professional experience is deeply rooted in the judiciary of my own
country - I had the privilege of serving in several judicial functions
in the past - I would like to use the opportunity of this Conference
to make the following personal appeal to judges worldwide.
The adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption is
a major step forward in the fight against a phenomenon that has devastating
effects on our efforts to create societies under the rule of law. But
the Convention and the consequent national legislation must be faithfully
It is a sad fact that not all national justice systems are free from
corruption. To eradicate corruption from these systems is a task in
which many are involved - within the legal profession and elsewhere.
It goes without saying that the way in which the legal profession, in
particular the judiciary, deals with corruption is one of the most important
factors for the prospects of success. A corrupt judiciary means that
the very mechanism designed to eradicate corruption has itself been
infected with the disease. This is a devastating blow to the courageous
efforts of others who are engaged in the fight against this scourge.
Corruption.is a crime. But, basically, it is a question of morality
and ethics. Those of us who are engaged in the administration and dispensation
of justice know that there are many different issues that have to be
addressed in this context; in particular the status and remuneration
accorded to judges at the national level. But the fact that these issues
may not have been solved in a fully satisfactory manner in all instances
can never be an excuse. A judge must have integrity and self-respect,
and someone with even a minimum of self-respect would shun corruption.
On this solemn occasion, I appeal to judges worldwide to engage effectively
in the fight against corruption by individually setting the example.
In particular, I turn to senior members of the" profession. Your
example will be of decisive importance for new generations of judges.
Judges all over the world: let today's event be a signal to us to join
hands, at the national level and across borders, in a common effort
to eradicate corruption within our own profession. This is the most
important contribution we can make to the common effort. in which so
many people are engaged, to create societies where we all can live in