The judiciary at risk – a case study

Conference on

The judiciary at risk – a case study

United Kingdom, London

(International Bar Association (IBA

  November 27, 2020


For the last ten years, the IBAHRI has been conducting trial observations on the case of Venezuelan Judge María Lourdes Afiuni. In 2009, she was arrested without warrant after she ordered the release of an alleged political prisoner, on the grounds that his detention was unlawful. In December, we published a report, Legal Guarantees and Due Process: 10 Years of the Afiuni Case, setting out the main conclusions of the IBAHRI’s observation of the court proceedings. Following our observations on the weakening of the judiciary due to a corroding separation of powers, and a complete lack of safeguards to protect Judge Afiuni’s human rights throughout her trial, we present our observations on the risks judicial independence faces globally, even at the heart of Europe. Judge Afiuni’s case illuminates the global persecution of judges as a grave threat to both international human rights standards and the rule of law. In some jurisdictions the complaint about judiciary is that they are out of touch. However, in other jurisdictions the judiciary are on the front line of risk. The risk extends to their professional independence; their integrity and neutrality; and to their physical, intellectual and personal safety. In many countries, judges face grave personal risks every day, just for discharging their duties. This is a session of importance and interest for lawyers worldwide.


Session / Workshop chair(s)

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