Mr. Roth commenced the debate by highlighting the indispensable relations between the effective implementation of the rule of law, access to justice and its vitality for human rights protection.
As the first who took the floor, Ms. Gurmendi stressed that whilst rule of law is the only access to human rights, corruption of judiciaries worldwide – in developing countries in particular has jeopardized institutions’ credibility. Hence, she called on member states to carry out reforms in strengthening the independency of judiciaries on the one hand, empowering civil society and citizens on the other in order to hold the justice system accountable.
Whilst agreeing with other panelists, Ms. Harkrisnowo argued that the importance of individuals compared to institutional reforms must not be understated, in which having country leaders that are human-rights-oriented is essential for countries to formulate polices that protect human rights. And the only way to do so, in her opinion, would be to ensure all human rights principles are properly induced at all governmental institutions, as a sin qua non of establishing a human rights-friendly governance.
As a round-up, Mr. McDuhall emphasized that rule of law and rule by law are two entirely different concepts, and for human rights to be upheld, aligning to the ideal of the former system is indispensable.
Meeting: General Assembly – High-level thematic debate entitled “UN@70 – Human rights at the centre of the global agenda”: Interactive segment 2 on Building the foundations for human rights – Governance, the rule of law and access to justice
Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, 12 July, 2016; 15:00– 16:25; Trusteeship Council Chamber
Speakers: Mr. Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Silvia Fernandez de Guremendi, President of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Indonesia, Mr. Ian McDouhall, Executive Vice-president &General Counsel at Lexis Nexis
Written by: Raphael LEUNG
Photo by: United Nations Media Centre