It is with a great sense of pleasure that I address you, for the first time, in this newsletter, in my capacity as President of the IAJ.
The congress of Mexico City, which was remarkably organized, is still vivid in our recollections. It enabled us to show, once more, our solidarity towards the judges and prosecutors who have been wrongfully blamed, prosecuted, transferred in their functions, and in some instances imprisoned. A thought goes out to our colleagues who perform their duties in zones which have become dangerous, risking their lives to defend the independence of the judiciary.
We must support our African colleagues working in Mali, Niger and in the Maghreb countries, who endanger their lives, fighting against globalized terrorism. The African group of the UIM is particularly concerned about this situation.
In the recent past, we also supported our Venezuelan colleague Maria Lourdes Afiuni. The IBA Group continues its actions, intervening with the Inter-American Court of Humans right. We hope that this intervention will have positive results.
The situation in Iraq, is also of concern, especially the disciplinary actions brought against the president of the association, following remarks which denounced the corruption of high level political leaders which led to his replacement as head of the association by members designated by the high council of Justice. The investigations continue within the ANAO group, and by its President, to find out the most effective way to help our colleague and to support the Iraqi association.
Of grave concern is the situation in Turkey, and the fate of our unhappy colleagues and their families. In a few days, the fund created to assist and support the judges, decided in Mexico City by the EAJ, will be set up. The ad hoc working group en-tasked to set it in operation have done a terrific job. I make a point of thanking their members. I encourage each and every one of you to contribute towards this fund, which will be initially used to support our Turkish colleagues.
The creation of this fund and an article that I wrote in November, for a Turkish Internet site, announcing the creation of this fund, triggered a violent reply from the Turkish authorities, accompanied by explicit threats, from the president of the new and pro-governmental association of judges and prosecutors (YBD). These threats included criminal prosecutions against the members of the IAJ Presidency Committee for allegedly supporting terrorism. The IAJ answered firmly to these unfounded and fallacious criticisms.
Despite these concerns, the work of the IAJ continues, of which two examples are mentioned, namely, in February 2017, the IBA group will continue the reflection started in Recife and Mexico City on the topic of corruption, by co-organizing with our Peruvian colleagues an international conference in Lima.
The project pertaining to the universal charter on the statute of judges will be sent to you soon, in order to enable you to discuss it at the regional groups meetings next spring, so that it can be adopted in Santiago, Chile in November 2017. I sincerely thank the members of the working group, which I had the honour to chair, for the quality of their reflections and deliberations.
Regional meetings will thus be of importance next year. I have the pleasure of meeting you next in Toluca (Mexico) for the meeting of the IBA group, in Africa for the meeting of the African group, in Chisinau (Moldova) for the meeting of the EAJ, whereas an online meeting will take place among the members of ANAO group.
In anticipation of our next meeting, I wish you a prosperous 2017.
President of the IAJ