ThisisaconclusiondrawnbyVice–ChairpersonofINGO “CommitteeAgainstTorture” Olga Sadovskayaattheendoftheroundtablediscussion “InteractionbetweenthepublicandjudicialcommunityinNizhnyNovgorodregion” which tookplaceonMarch 19-20 inNizhnyNovgorod. The round table was organized in the framework of the I’ve Got Rights programme for social and civil rights promotion in cooperation with the American Bar Association in Russia, Higher School of Economics, Interregional NGO “Committee Against Torture”, Leonid Nikitsky Human Rights Programmes Center.
During the meeting leading specialists and law experts delivered their reports on the most burning aspects of the judicial reform, as well as interaction between the judicial community and public. The participants raised a lot of issues regarding operation of judicial bodies, in particular, interaction with the public and human rights NGOs. Insufficient disclosure of information about court activities, lack of transparency in judicial proceedings, ineffective court performance assessment system are major factors accounting for the public belief that the judicial system is extremely corrupted and ineffective.
Representatives of the judicial community remarked that the judicial system faced unfounded criticism from certain groups of individuals interested in discrediting courts and undermining public trust in judicial bodies. Insufficient understanding of judicial procedures, as well as low level of legal awareness of the public is another big challenge for courts, according to representatives of the Nizhny Novgorod judicial community.
Having discussed the above mentioned issues, the participants proposed several recommendations to improve performance of judicial bodies as a whole and in particular in the sphere of public relations, including with human rights organizations.
For example, representatives of the Moscow Helsinki Group recommended the judicial community to strengthen public involvement in selection of judges by including representatives of human rights organizations into judicial qualification boards.
Vice-Chairperson of INGO “Committee Against Torture” Olga Sadovskaya shared her successful experience of cooperation with courts of Nizhny Novgorod region which was based on joint analysis of problems with ECtHR judgments execution. Olga Sadovskaya proposed that the civil society and the judicial community should discuss burning issues in the context of open dialogue and mutual commitment.
“In the present situation the judicial community for me is the hub where human rights protection efforts can be most effective. In any country non-governmental organizations are a kind of locomotive promoting democratic initiatives and humanistic standards in the sphere of human rights protection. In Russia this work is much more complicated than in many other countries, however, NGOs should do their best to establish constructive dialogue with the judicial community”, said Olga Sadovskaya.