UN Human Rights Council – 20th Session
Australian Statement for the Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and the Special
Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.
25 June 2012
Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms Gabriela Knaul, for her report on the topic of prosecutors and prosecutorial services.
Australia agrees that the independence, autonomy and objective and impartial functioning of prosecutorial services is a core component of democracy, the rule of law and upholding human rights. In Australia, prosecutors’ independence and accountability is secured by open courts, strong governance arrangements within the prosecutorial services and the courts, and parliamentary, public and media scrutiny. Strong governance arrangements are vital in combating the risk of corruption.
Australia is particularly interested in the Special Rapporteur’s comments on the fine balance between accountability and independence. In particular, Australia notes with interest the distinction between structural independence and operational independence and impartiality. The analysis of the wide variety of criminal justice systems throughout the world and the differences in the role and status of prosecutors and prosecution services was also valuable.
Australia recognises the difficulties faced by prosecutorial services with a lack of adequate resources, and appreciates the issue of security concerns for prosecutors and their families.
The Special Rapporteur has emphasised the importance of continuing to build the capacity of prosecutors. Australia supports practical efforts to strengthen national law and justice systems to deliver improved justice services, including through our aid program.
We would welcome the Special Rapporteur’s views on what the international community can do to support further the fine balance being struck between independence and accountability of prosecutorial services.
Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms Rashida Manjoo, for her report addressing the global issue of gender- related killings, and for her continuing commitment to the issues of violence against women.
Violence against women, in all its manifestations, is a fundamental human rights abuse.
The Australian government is committed to ensuring women live free from violence in safe communities. This is exemplified through the Australian Government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, the implementation of the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012 – 2018, the appointment of Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls in 2011 and our current work with partner countries to end violence against women globally.
Australia recognises eliminating violence against women is crucial to achieving gender equality. But we also recognise that the degree of gender equality in a society has a bearing on the level of violence women experience.
We would be interested in the Special Rapporteur’s views on successful or promising strategies to address attitudes, and therefore behaviours, in relation to ending once and for all gender based killings.