El Salvador: first fact-finding mission by UN expert on independence of judges and lawyers

GENEVA (16 November 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul will carry out an official visit to El Salvador from 19 to 26 November 2012 to consider the measures adopted by the country to guarantee the independence of judges and lawyers, and the performance of their duties without undue influences, threats or interferences.

“I hope that my visit will contribute to strengthening the independence and impartiality of the justice system, which is based on the principle of separation of powers. The independence of the judiciary is essential for the development of the rule of law and democracy,” Ms. Knaul said.

The Special Rapporteur, who will visit El Salvador at the invitation of the Government, will also examine other issues, such as the transparency of current methods of judicial selection, the prosecution service and the legal profession, as well as fair trial guarantees.

During her eight-day mission, the expert will hold meetings in San Salvador and Santa Ana with a number of high-ranking Government officials, the national human rights institution (Procurador para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos), national judicial bodies and courts at all levels, prosecutors, law professionals, academics, international and local non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies.

Based on the information collected during the visit, Ms. Knaul will prepare a report containing her findings and recommendations on how to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of the justice system. Her report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2013.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on 26 November in San Salvador to present her preliminary observations, with further details to follow.

Gabriela Knaul took up her functions as UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on 1 August 2009. In that capacity, she acts independently from any Government or organization. Ms. Knaul has a long-standing experience as a judge in Brazil and is an expert in criminal justice and the administration of judicial systems. Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country page – El Salvador: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/SVIndex.aspx

Check the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/indjudiciary.htm

For additional information and media requests, please contact Carlos León (+503 2209 3509 / carlos.leon@one.un.org) or write to srindependence@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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