The impact of gender equality and diversity within the judiciary and the prosecution service on the fairness of justice systems was the focus of an expert meeting organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw on 28 and 29 November 2017.
More than 20 participants, including judges, prosecutors and representatives of academia and civil society organizations from 11 participating States across the OSCE region gathered to review the findings and recommendations of a forthcoming ODIHR needs assessment report on the topic.
The report recognizes that across the OSCE region, women, minorities and persons with disabilities are often under-represented in the judiciary in proportion to their numbers in society at large. The report provides an overview of current barriers to equal participation and offers recommendations to guide future policies and legal reforms that aim to overcome those barriers.
Based on a representative selection of OSCE participating States, the report also provides baseline data from end users on the perceived fairness of judicial outcomes and the effect of gender equality and diversity on the delivery of justice.
“A lack of equality and inclusiveness in the composition of judicial and prosecution services may be linked to the perpetuation of implicit biases and harmful stereotypes,” said Andrea Huber, Deputy Chief of ODIHR’s Rule of Law Unit. “These biases and stereotypes may represent significant barriers to equal access to justice for all.”
Participant Majda Halilović of the Atlantic Initiative NGO in Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “This meeting presents a good opportunity for us to identify obstacles to equal participation by all in the justice sector and share insights that can help find potential solutions.”
Feedback provided by meeting participants will contribute to ODIHR’s efforts to support participating States in enhancing the quality and integrity of their justice systems, in line with OSCE commitments and other international standards.
Source: http://www.osce.org/odihr/359546; Photo: Credit OSCE/Maria Kuchma