Most criminal jurisdictions in the world have stopped imprisoning people at random, torturing them and arbitrarily taking away their property. The others will eventually be caught up in the spread of the rule of law and their prosecutors will then be able to conduct themselves in the way in which most of us now do, giving proper consideration to human rights in the course of the prosecution process. We are aided and guided in that task by standards that are set by:
· international and regional bodies;
· domestic law; and
· rules and guidelines prescribed by the various relevant professional agencies.
The XXIst Century will see increasing attention paid to the implementation of these standards.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is a good starting point. From it flow international covenants and conventions, codes, rules, principles, guidelines and standards, usually promulgated by the United Nations.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) contains guarantees of freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to a fair and public trial and the presumption of innocence.
The independence of the judiciary and the legal profession are addressed in the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary (1985), Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990), Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors (1990) and in the International Bar Association's Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession (1990) and other documents such as the Beijing Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary in the LAWASIA Region (1995).
Human rights provisions relevant to the activities of law enforcement officials are found in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1977), Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1979), Principles of Medical Ethics Relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1982), Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice [Beijing Rules] (1985), Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (1988), Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990), UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures [Tokyo Rules] (1990) and Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency [Riyadh Guidelines] (1990).
Provisions concerning human rights and the administration of justice which relate to particular sectors of the community (including juveniles, women, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, immigrants and asylum seekers) are found in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1982), Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals who are not Nationals of the Countries in which they Live (1985), ILO Convention No 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (1989), Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (1990) and the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1993).
In common law countries, pursuant to the Bangalore Principles (1988), courts may have regard to the obligations undertaken by countries under such instruments "for the purpose of removing ambiguity or uncertainty from national constitutions, legislation or common law".
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 1993 noted that:
"The administration of justice, including law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies and, specially an independent judiciary and legal profession in full conformity with applicable standards contained in international human rights instruments, are essential to the full and non-discriminatory realisation of human rights and indispensable to the processes of democracy and sustainable development."
In 1994 the UN General Assembly prepared a plan of action for the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004) in which it called for governments to give special attention to "the training of police, prison officials, lawyers, judges ... and other groups which are in a particular position to effect the realisation of human rights."
Domestic laws of responsible governments are consistent with these standards. The rules of professional practice of our professional associations and the guidelines given to prosecutors by prosecuting agencies also mirror the basic values expressed in such instruments - consistently with the just rule of law as we understand it. (What do we mean by the just rule of law? I have attached to this paper some rather incomplete thoughts on the subject.)
The reasons for our modern directions are complex. In large part, however, they are motivated by a general acceptance of the inherent dignity of the human person and the rights that attach to preserve that dignity. There may also be pragmatic considerations: we often hear that the best evidence in a prosecution is a confession; but we should qualify that to mean only a voluntary confession - because an involuntary confession, one resulting from torture or other pressure to confess, will be inherently unreliable. (People make false confessions simply to escape from torture.)
Evidence that is otherwise unlawfully obtained may also be unreliable and broader public interest considerations also make it desirable that its use be discouraged.
A mix of idealism and pragmatism is to be found in the development of the International Association of Prosecutors' ("IAP") Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors ("the Standards"). They are directed towards ensuring conduct that will more effectively maintain the rule of law (more appropriately, the just rule of law) in all our societies. In addition to the philosophical and jurisprudential arguments supporting the rule of law, there is a very practical basis for enforcing it. Without the rule of law, as history has taught us time and time again, the climate is created for various kinds of extreme unpleasantness to befall us - various forms of oppression or anarchy may be allowed to prevail with unfortunate consequences for us all.
The IAP was formed in 1995 and has grown apace since then. We now have over 900 individual members and over 70 organisational members representing 90 countries. We hold annual conferences (the next being in Cape Town on 3-8 September 2000), produce publications and research issues of relevance to prosecutors. We have established networks in particular areas of practice designed to assist prosecutors confronted by particular problems.
A significant early development for the Association was the promulgation of the Standards. It is intended that eventually all prosecution services in the world, not just our members, will subscribe to and observe the Standards and be assessed according to the extent to which they implement them in practice. The Standards are complementary to the UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors of 1990 (which are presently being reviewed in the light of the IAP Standards and other considerations). They have been favourably cited in the recent report on the justice system of Northern Ireland.
An important point to note about the Standards (which are also attached to this paper with a brief description of the way in which they were developed) is that they are the minimum standards to be achieved by all prosecutors. They are not high ideals to be aimed for. In mathematical terms, they are the lowest common denominator. More simply, they should be thought of as a starting point, rather than a finishing line.
The Standards are promulgated in accordance with the Object of the IAP to:
"... promote and enhance those standards and principles which are generally recognised internationally as necessary for the proper and independent prosecution of offences".
Another important point to note about them is that they are short. That is important because it demonstrates that they are a distillation of the principles considered important by the prosecutors of the world. They are not cluttered with detailed rules and guidelines, subject to numerous qualifications and exceptions. They paint a simple outline and leave you to responsibly fill in the detail.
I propose to refer to some only of the issues included in the Standards. You may read and consider them in full in your own time. It would be surprising if the prosecutors of Canada were not already measuring up to them in full, but they are a useful reminder of how we should go about our business.
Article 1 prescribes a number of forms of conduct for prosecutors and, importantly, in paragraph (f) refers expressly to the prosecutor's protection of an accused person's right to a fair trial. That is in many ways our raison d'etre - it is why we do what we do and lies at the heart of all our work. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both require that trials be fair - to both sides.
A guide to the requirements of a fair trial may be found in the listed reference materials also attached to this paper. Fairness in many situations will be a matter of judgment, but this Article obliges us to pursue it. We must do so with due regard to the human rights of those involved. We must do so always in a way that is in the public interest (an expression that does not mean the same as "of public interest", or "in the interests of a section of the public").
Article 2 addresses the independence of the prosecutor, but it is qualified. The degree of independence of prosecutorial decision making, from government and other influences, varies considerably across the globe. In some jurisdictions the prosecuting authority is completely independent of government in its decision making; in others it is intimately bound up in the political functioning of government; and there are all shades in between. This Article is capable of dealing with those shades of independence. Where it is qualified, however, there is an obligation to ensure that any interference with that independence is open and accountable.
Article 3 requires impartiality in the way in which we carry out our functions. Paragraph (e), together with Articles 1 (f) and 4.3 (d), requires the prosecution to disclose to the accused in a timely manner all material within its knowledge that may be relevant to the issues to be tried, whether that material favours an outcome for the prosecution or for the defence. This is a vitally important requirement. There is much pressure these days in many jurisdictions for the defence to make at least limited disclosure to the prosecution and we cannot reasonably expect that to occur other than in a spirit of cooperation between the parties. That spirit will not be engendered unless there is trust - unless it is clear that the prosecution, which has a favourable balance of power, is making full disclosure in the first place.
Article 4 is a more specific provision affecting the conduct of proceedings by prosecutors and requires us to do certain things. Again, it recognises that there are differences between our various agencies. Some are engaged in the investigation of crime while some have no investigatory role at all. In all circumstances the Article casts upon us obligations to act objectively, impartially and professionally.
Article 4.2 (d) requires us to know when we have a viable case. That in turn requires us to have procedures in place for the continual screening of cases - continually assessing the strength of the evidence and the probability of conviction in due course.
Article 4.3 (b) refers to victims of crime. Further guidance may be had from the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985. Victims are an increasingly vocal group in society, their position (at least in the view of many people) having been overlooked for far too long.
Article 4.3 (h) addresses the decision to prosecute, itself, and the alternatives that may be available. Diversionary schemes are becoming more popular as the costs and delays inherent in criminal trial proceedings increase and ideas of restorative justice take hold.
Article 5 reflects another reason for the existence of the IAP. Cooperation is a major goal.
Article 6 (rather evocatively entitled "Empowerment") refers in part to what we get out of prosecuting and in part to what our communities should provide for us. There is an ongoing serious issue of resourcing included in this Article. On the one hand governments are very fond of emphasising to their constituents the important role played by the prosecution in the maintenance of social order; on the other hand they are very fond of withholding adequate resources from us in order to fund activities that will more directly translate into votes at the time of the next election. Those of us who suffer in this way must maintain our pressure for adequate resources to do our jobs in a completely professional manner.
The Standards are for all of us a beginning. Most of your agencies will probably have extensive guidelines and policy documents assisting decision making in the course of prosecutions; some may not. It seems to me that the starting point is to ensure that such documents as we have at home reflect the standards, duties and rights contained in the IAP Standards. The next step is to ensure that our respective governments acknowledge the Standards. The next step is to assist those agencies who do not - or cannot - embrace the Standards to do so, or to find ways of making compliance with them possible.
There is, I am told, a Native American saying referring to the environment: "We do not inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children." In that same spirit of responsibility and expectation, we should use these Standards to ensure even better prosecution services for the future.
As in most jurisdictions (I suspect) there is in NSW a published and freely available policy and guideline document. Its contents are consistent with the IAP Standards.
They deal with many aspects of the exercise of prosecutorial discretion: the decision to charge, plea (or charge) bargaining, immunities to witnesses, appeals, taking over proceedings, disclosure and so on. They are a reference, a source and a comfort to prosecutors in their daily work and they are of great assistance in explaining publicly and to government those decisions that need to be explained.
The outreach of the NSW Prosecution Policy and Guidelines (proactively seeking defence cooperation) has now been reciprocated by new Rules of the New South Wales Bar Association which came into effect on 6 March 2000 (although the reach of the rules is much wider than simply the conduct of criminal proceedings).
Duty to Client
17A A barrister must inform the client or the instructing solicitor about the alternatives to fully contested adjudication of the case which are reasonably available to the client, unless the barrister believes on reasonable grounds that the client already has such an understanding of those alternatives as to permit the client to make decisions about the client's best interests in relation to the litigation.
17B A barrister must (unless circumstances warrant otherwise in the barrister's considered opinion) advise a client who is charged with a criminal offence about any law, procedure or practice which in substance holds out the prospect of some advantage (including diminution of penalty) if the client pleads guilty or authorises other steps towards reducing the issues, time, cost or distress involved in the proceedings.
These rules are likely to be taken up by the solicitors' branch of the profession and, through the Law Council of Australia, are quite likely to become rules of application to the profession nationwide. I commend them to you.
THE RULE OF LAW
Nicholas Cowdery QC
Director of Public Prosecutions, NSW
International Association of Prosecutors
Human Rights Institute
International Bar Association
The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that:
"it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law."
Human rights are fundamental rights - they are "universal, indivisible and inter-dependent and inter-related" as the Vienna Declaration (1993) affirmed. It is appropriate that they should be protected and, significantly, by something as equally fundamental as the rule of law.
THE RULE OF LAW
What is the "rule of law"? How does it operate? Why is it important? How may it protect human rights and do whatever else it is properly called upon to do? Is it essential to a civil society?
There is no doubt of the importance of the rule of law. Sir Ninian Stephen (former Justice of the High Court of Australia and former Australian Governor General) in his 1999 Annual Lawyers' Lecture for the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney said:
"Maintaining the rule of law is the true basis of democratic society. Without it democracy is a misleading and empty phrase."
It is necessary to state that the rule of law does not mean:
- rule by law (that is, so long as there is a law on the subject, the rule of law is operating);
- the law of the ruler; or
- "law and order" or related notions of authority.
A clue to its meaning would be given by the addition of just one word to the phrase: "the just rule of law". Justice requires the importation of principles that arise under other labels, such as peace, freedom, democracy and fairness. Such principles are echoed in the rule of law and are supported by it.
One writer has said that the rule of law is in effect an institutional morality which requires certain ethical values to be observed by those who govern and those who administer public affairs. In that respect it sits alongside the notion of obedience to the unenforceable (the domain of manners) propounded by Lord Moulton in 1920 - but it differs in that it may be backed up by legal sanctions in certain circumstances.
It is a difficult notion to define comprehensively. It is both normative and descriptive. It is a universal ideal. It is a restraint on arbitrary power.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in 1959 described two ideals underlying the concept of the Rule of Law.
· All power in the state should be derived from and be exercised in accordance with the law.
· The law itself must be based upon respect for the supreme value of human personality.
Human personality imports human rights (and so the circle is drawn back to the Universal Declaration).
Allied to the ideals described by the ICJ are two principal features of the rule of law.
* The people (including the government) should be ruled by the law and obey it.
* The law should be such that the people will be able and willing to be ruled (or guided) by it.
Those features provide balance that would otherwise be absent. Democratic legislatures have plenary power - they can make laws about anything, subject to constitutional limitations, and provide for those laws to be enforced. But obedience to rules at the price of cruelty and repression is not the just rule of law. Sir Ninian Stephen in his lecture identified three factors that operated to resolve conflict between that plenary power and the rule of law in a country like Australia:
"First the general, if not constant and unanimous, recognition of and respect for the principles of the rule of law by our legislatures. Secondly, judicial interpretation ... Thirdly, it is aided by our constitution's separation of powers doctrine and its distinction between legislative and judicial power."
From the features to which I have referred commentators have deduced 12 more particular requirements to be met before it can be said that the rule of law is truly in operation in any jurisdiction.
1 There must be laws prohibiting and protecting against private violence and coercion, general lawlessness and anarchy.
The need for such laws is self-evident, for no members of society may be free to enjoy their rights unless a degree of social order is maintained. This is the extent of the "law and order" component of the rule of law.
2 The government must be bound (as far as possible) by the same laws that bind the individual.
As a corporate entity the government is required to take actions that affect its subjects and others. It is necessary that the same principles that bind individuals in their conduct towards others should also bind governments when they take action that will affect others. Principled behaviour is universally recognised and governments should not be exempt from it.
3 The law must possess characteristics of certainty, generality and equality. Certainty requires that the law be prospective, open, clear and relatively stable. Laws must be of general application to all subjects. They must apply equally to all.
These principles militate against the making of retrospective laws or laws that discriminate against sections of society. They prevent the manipulation of the lawmaking process for improper purposes which disadvantages subjects of the legislature.
4 The law must be and remain reasonably in accordance with informed public opinion and general social values and there must be some mechanism (formal or informal) for ensuring that.
In a democracy it is essential that there be continuing consultation between the lawmakers and the community. The legislature makes laws for the community - so those laws should be what the community wants. The difficulty, of course, is in reflecting informed public opinion and general social values, not the opinions and values of noisy elements of the society that may not be generally held. (Talkback radio is not a sound basis on which to fashion laws!)
Unless this requirement is fulfilled, the consent of the governed, on which the effective enforcement of the law is essentially dependent, will not be forthcoming.
5 There must be institutions and procedures that are capable of speedily enforcing the law.
That is self-evident; but even in this country the speedy enforcement of the law suffers with the inadequacy of resources provided to the institutions involved.
6 There must be effective procedures and institutions to ensure that government action is also in accordance with the law.
Mechanisms for the effective review of public administrative decisions are instrumental in enforcing this principle. Government must also be subject to the law and amenable to law enforcement.
7 There must be an independent judiciary, so that it may be relied upon to apply the law.
If government - or anyone else - has a thumb on one side of the scales of justice, litigants will avoid the courts and the community will not respect or abide by their decisions. That way lies anarchy.
8 A system of legal representation is required, preferably by an organised and independent legal profession.
Access to justice cannot be assured if citizens do not have the means to maintain their positions - whether by pressing their claims through the proper channels or by defending their positions against attack. Courts and legal processes are not, by and large, "user-friendly". Again, independence is essential to ensure that the rights of citizens are not improperly compromised.
9 The principles of "natural justice" (or procedural fairness) must be observed in all hearings.
Contests cannot be allowed to become "one-sided" by the denial of equal rights to all concerned.
10 The courts must be accessible, without long delays and high costs.
Even this country falls down badly on this one. "Justice delayed is justice denied" - to all the parties, it must be remembered. If the costs of access are too high, access will be denied.
11 Enforcement of the law must be impartial and honest.
This is self-evident.
12 There must be an enlightened public opinion - a public spirit or attitude favouring the application of these propositions.
This proposition has echoes of no. 4 in it. In addition, it is a requirement that the community be kept informed of the state of the law, factors indicating any need for change to it, or to the way in which it is enforced, and the need to proceed in a principled way at all times in the general public interest. The media play a large part in the fulfilment of this requirement - so freedom of the press, of information and of communication are vital.
If all (or most) of these features exist, at least in large part, the climate will exist for democracy and for the protection and enforcement of human rights - those rights that are enjoyed by humans simply because they are human beings (which are to be found in the great international instruments accepted by the commonwealth of nations).
That climate will be one of acceptance, observance and incorporation into domestic law of those international standards and their enforcement in everyday life. Those 12 features also provide the internal mechanisms for that enforcement.
Professor Geoffrey de Q Walker wrote in The Rule of Law (Melbourne University Press, 1988) that the rule of law
"is plainly the essential prerequisite of our whole legal, constitutional and perhaps social order ... The rule of law is not a complete formula for the good society, but there can be no good society without it."
Standards of professional responsibility and statement of the essential duties and rights of prosecutors
adopted by the International Association of Prosecutors on the twenty third day of April 1999
The International Association of Prosecutors was established in June 1995 at the United Nations offices in Vienna and was formally inaugurated in September 1996 at its first General Meeting in Budapest. In the following year in Ottawa, the General Meeting approved the Objects of the Association which are now enshrined in Article 2.3 of the Association's Constitution. One of the most important of these Objects is to :
".. promote and enhance those standards and principles which are generally recognised internationally as necessary for the proper and independent prosecution of offences."
In support of that particular objective a committee of the Association, chaired by Mrs Retha Meintjes of South Africa, set to work to produce a set of standards for prosecutors. A first draft was circulated to the entire membership in July 1998 and the final version was approved by the Executive Committee at its Spring meeting in Amsterdam in April 1999.
The International Association of Prosecutors' Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors is a statement which will serve as an international benchmark for the conduct of individual prosecutors and of prosecution services. We intend that this should not simply be a bold statement but rather a working document for use by prosecution services to develop and reinforce their own standards. Much of the Association's efforts in the future will be directed to promoting the Standards and their use by working prosecutors throughout the world.
Standards of professional responsibility and statement of the essential duties and rights of prosecutors
WHEREAS the objects of the International Association of Prosecutors are set out in Article 2.3 of its Constitution and include the promotion of fair, effective, impartial and efficient prosecution of criminal offences, and the promotion of high standards and principles in the administration of criminal justice;
WHEREAS the United Nations, at its Eighth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Havana, Cuba in 1990, adopted Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors;
WHEREAS the community of nations has declared the rights and freedoms of all persons in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent international covenants, conventions and other instruments;
WHEREAS the public need to have confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system;
WHEREAS all prosecutors play a crucial role in the administration of criminal justice;
WHEREAS the degree of involvement, if any, of prosecutors at the investigative stage varies from one jurisdiction to another;
WHEREAS the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is a grave and serious responsibility;
AND WHEREAS such exercise should be as open as possible, consistent with personal rights, sensitive to the need not to re-victimise victims and should be conducted in an objective and impartial manner;
THEREFORE the International Association of Prosecutors adopts the following as a statement of standards of professional conduct for all prosecutors and of their essential duties and rights:
1. Professional Conduct
Prosecutors shall :
at all times maintain the honour and dignity of their profession;
always conduct themselves professionally, in accordance with the law and the rules and ethics of their profession;
at all times exercise the highest standards of integrity and care;
keep themselves well-informed and abreast of relevant legal developments;
strive to be, and to be seen to be, consistent, independent and impartial;
always protect an accused person's right to a fair trial, and in particular ensure that evidence favourable to the accused is disclosed in accordance with the law or the requirements of a fair trial;
always serve and protect the public interest; respect, protect and uphold the universal concept of human dignity and human rights.
2.1 The use of prosecutorial discretion, when permitted in a particular jurisdiction, should be exercised independently and be free from political interference.
2.2 If non-prosecutorial authorities have the right to give general or specific instructions to prosecutors, such instructions should be :
· consistent with lawful authority;
· subject to established guidelines to safeguard the actuality and the perception of prosecutorial independence.
2.3 Any right of non-prosecutorial authorities to direct the institution of proceedings or to stop legally instituted proceedings should be exercised in similar fashion.
Prosecutors shall perform their duties without fear, favour or prejudice.
In particular they shall:
carry out their functions impartially;
remain unaffected by individual or sectional interests and public or media pressures and shall have regard only to the public interest; act with objectivity;
have regard to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect;
in accordance with local law or the requirements of a fair trial,seek to ensure that all necessary and reasonable enquiries are made and the result disclosed, whether that points towards the guilt or the innocence of the suspect;
always search for the truth and assist the court to arrive at the truth and to do justice between the community, the victim and the accused according to law and the dictates of fairness.
4. Role in criminal proceedings
4.1 Prosecutors shall perform their duties fairly, consistently and expeditiously.
4.2 Prosecutors shall perform an active role in criminal proceedings as follows: where authorised by law or practice to participate in the investigation of crime, or to exercise authority over the police or other investigators, they will do so objectively, impartially and professionally;
b) when supervising the investigation of crime, they should ensure that the investigating services respect legal precepts and fundamental human rights; when giving advice, they will take care to remain impartial and objective;
d) in the institution of criminal proceedings, they will proceed only when a case is well-founded upon evidence reasonably believed to be reliable and admissible, and will not continue with a prosecution in the absence of such evidence; throughout the course of the proceedings, the case will be firmly but fairly prosecuted; and not beyond what is indicated by the evidence;
when, under local law and practice, they exercise a supervisory function in relation to the implementation of court decisions or perform other non-prosecutorial functions, they will always act in the public interest.
4.3 Prosecutors shall, furthermore; preserve professional confidentiality; in accordance with local law and the requirements of a fair trial, consider the views, legitimate interests and possible concerns of victims and witnesses, when their personal interests are, or might be, affected, and seek to ensure that victims and witnesses are informed of their rights;
and similarly seek to ensure that any aggrieved party is informed of the right of recourse to some higher authority/court, where that is possible;
safeguard the rights of the accused in co-operation with the court and other relevant agencies;
disclose to the accused relevant prejudicial and beneficial information as soon as reasonably possible, in accordance with the law or the requirements of a fair trial;
examine proposed evidence to ascertain if it has been lawfully or constitutionally obtained;
refuse to use evidence reasonably believed to have been obtained through recourse to unlawful methods which constitute a grave violation of the suspect's human rights and particularly methods which constitute torture or cruel treatment;
seek to ensure that appropriate action is taken against those responsible for using such methods;
in accordance with local law and the requirements of a fair trial, give due consideration to waiving prosecution, discontinuing proceedings conditionally or unconditionally or diverting criminal cases, and particularly those involving young defendants, from the formal justice system, with full respect for the rights of suspects and victims, where such action is appropriate.
In order to ensure the fairness and effectiveness of prosecutions, prosecutors shall: co-operate with the police, the courts, the legal profession, defence counsel, public defenders and other government agencies, whether nationally or internationally;
and render assistance to the prosecution services and colleagues of other jurisdictions, in accordance with the law and in a spirit of mutual co-operation.
In order to ensure that prosecutors are able to carry out their professional responsibilities independently and in accordance with these standards, prosecutors should be protected against arbitrary action by governments. In general they should be entitled :
to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference or unjustified exposure to civil, penal or other liability;
together with their families, to be physically protected by the authorities when their personal safety is threatened as a result of the proper discharge of their prosecutorial functions;
to reasonable conditions of service and adequate remuneration, commensurate with the crucial role performed by them and not to have their salaries or other benefits arbitrarily diminished; to reasonable and regulated tenure, pension and age of retirement subject to conditions of employment or election in particular cases;
to recruitment and promotion based on objective factors, and in particular professional qualifications, ability, integrity, performance and experience, and decided upon in accordance with fair and impartial procedures;
to expeditious and fair hearings, based on law or legal regulations, where disciplinary steps are necessitated by complaints alleging action outside the range of proper professional standards;
to objective evaluation and decisions in disciplinary hearings;
to form and join professional associations or other organisations to represent their interests, to promote their professional training and to protect their status; and to relief from compliance with an unlawful order or an order which is contrary to professional standards or ethics.
Information regarding the Association, its Officers and Committees and its projected Meetings, Conferences and other activities can be obtained from the Secretary-General at the Bureau of the Association.
Hartogstraat 13, 2514 EP The Hague, The Netherlands
Phone: ++ 31 70 363 03 45
Fax: ++ 31 70 363 03 67
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;