History

The removal of judges in situations of systemic corruption

The Group invited Chief Justice Gicheru of Kenya to its 4th Meeting in Vienna in 2005 to share with the Group his experience in disciplining judges. The initiatives taken by him and his predecessor to combat widespread corruption in the Kenyan judiciary since 1998 had been criticized by human rights organizations for the apparent lack of due process. A crisis had arisen because of the number of judges alleged to be involved. Chief Justice Gicheru, who claimed that his court had found itself with “the best judges that money can buy”, explained the steps that had been taken to conduct ex parte preliminary investigations and thereafter to apply constitutional provisions. Against the background of the Kenyan experience, the Group drew on the experience of its members in considering the procedures that would be appropriate for investigating complaints of corruption against judges and also complaints that judges had breached principles of judicial conduct. To facilitate further discussion of this subject, the Group agreed to examine existing mechanisms 11

both for disciplining judges and for the enforcement of national codes of conduct, identifying the principles underlying these mechanisms.