Purpose of the mandate
Today, the independence of the judiciary and the free exercise of the legal profession continue to be under threat in many countries of the world. Judges, prosecutors and lawyers are subject to attacks and violations of their rights, including threats, intimidation, external interference in conducting their professional activities, arbitrary detention, prosecution, and killings.
This mandate was created to:
- record attacks on the independence of judges, lawyers and prosecutors;
- monitor the progress made in protecting and enhancing their independence;
- make concrete recommendations to States and other actors;
- identify ways to improve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession.
Over the years, the mandate has recorded a significant number of attacks against judges and prosecutors and restrictions to the free and independent exercise of their profession, and brought these allegations to the attention of the national authorities.
About the mandate
In 1994, in the light of the increasing frequency of attacks on the independence of judges, lawyers and court officials, the weakening of safeguards for the judiciary and lawyers and the gravity and the frequency of human rights violations, the Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in resolution 1994/41. This mandate was assumed by the Human Rights Council (General Assembly resolution 60/251), and extended for one year (Human Rights Council decision 2006/102).
In June 2008, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers was subject to review undertaken by the Human Rights Council and extended for a period of three years. The mandate was further extended by resolutions 8/6,
35/11, and most recently, 44/8.
Read more about the mandate.
Current mandate holder
Mr. Diego García-Sayán was appointed Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in December 2016. Mr. García-Sayán was a judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for two consecutive terms. He has broad experience working for multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Read Mr. Diego García-Sayán’s full biography.
Latest thematic reports
Impact and challenges of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic for independent justice. The report focuses on the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the administration of justice. View report page | View document:
Disciplinary measures against judges and the use of ‘disguised’ sanctions This report, presented to the General Assembly in 2020, focuses on the disciplinary proceedings against judges for alleged misconduct in the exercise of their functions. It also covers “disguised” sanctions imposed on judges with the aim of intimidating, harassing or otherwise interfering with the professional activities of judges.
View report page | View document:
The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly by judges and prosecutors. This report, presented to the 2019 Human Rights Council, examines the fundamental rights and freedoms that judges and prosecutors enjoy – and the ways in which, as public officials, their special duties and responsibilities justify the introduction of specific restrictions on their fundamental freedoms.
View report page | View document:
Latest country reports
Visit to Uzbekistan (September 2019)
Visit to Honduras (August 2019)
Visit to Poland (October 2017)