2nd International Summit of High Courts, 20-22 November 2013 / Istanbul

The International Summit of the High Courts will take place in Istanbul, Turkey on 1-3 November 2010. The event is co-organized by the Presidency of the Court of Cassation in Turkey and UNDP Turkey. Relying on the results of the 1st International Summit of High Courts, 2nd Summit is now planned to be held in 20-22 November 2013 in Istanbul focusing on the transparency in judiciary.

UNDP Turkey, in view of its global experience and technical expertise, has been associated with this endeavour through a series of projects on access to justice and strengthening the rule of law. The strong partnership between UNDP and the Court of Cassation in Turkey started in late 2009 with the aim of improving the institutional and administrative capacity of the high courts in Turkey to conform to the international standards. The International Summits of the High Courts is a part of this effort and is intended to contribute to the on-going reform initiatives and serve as a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices, inter alia, on the functioning of the higher courts around the world. The 2nd International Summit of High Courts will there be focused on judicial transparency.

Transparency is a fundamental element of the judicial process. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognizes that while the press and public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order (ordre public) or national security in a democratic society, or when the interests of the private lives of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice, every judgment rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interests of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.

The Conference of Presidents of European Supreme Courts meeting in Slovenia in October 1999 under the auspices of the Council of Europe formulated a statement on “The Supreme Court: Publicity, Visibility and Transparency”. That statement recognized “the necessity to satisfy the expectations of contemporary society with regard to justice”, and stressed the importance of courts “demonstrating their openness and sensitivity”. The statement noted that judgments, “based on clear and easily understandable reasoning”, should be accessible to the general public; that there should be transparency in the nomination of judges; that the Supreme Court should “participate in the democratic debate in society with the aim of making better known the issues of justice in a state governed by the rule of law”; and underscored the relationship between justice and the media as an important element in the educational role of the Supreme Court in a democracy.The Summit will host the participation of chief justices of 13 countries in Asia Pacific Region including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Georgia, The Republic of Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Vietna, as well as high level representatives of the international community such as the Special Rapporteur of the UN Secretary General on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the European Commission for Efficiency of the Justice (CEPEJ), the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCEJ) and the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCEJ).