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UN Expert on independence of judges and lawyers to visit Mozambique

GENEVA (25 August 2010) -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, will visit Mozambique from 26 August to 4 September 2010.

The UN expert, who will visit Mozambique at the invitation of the Government, will examine the independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as the level of access of the population to the justice system. She will also examine the respect of fair trial guarantees in the country.

On the basis of her analysis, Ms. Knaul will make recommendations to assist the country in exploring avenues to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of the justice system.

During the mission, the Special Rapporteur will visit Maputo and Nampula to meet with a number of high-ranking Government officials, judges from various levels of the courts, representatives from the office of the Attorney General, bar associations, lawyers, academics and international and local non-governmental organizations.

Ms. Knaul will hold a press conference on 4 September in Maputo, at which she will present her preliminary conclusions and recommendations. Her report on the visit will be presented to a forthcoming session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011.

Ms. Knaul took functions as Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on 1 August 2009. In that capacity, she acts independently from any government or organization. Ms. Knaul has a long-standing experience as a judge in Brazil and is an expert in criminal justice and the administration of judicial systems.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/judiciary/index.htm

For more information and media requests, please contact Pasipau Wadonda-Chirwa (Tel: 022 917 9252/email: pwadonda-chirwa@ohchr.org or, UNDP office in Mozambique: Luis Zaqueu (Tel: Tel: + 258 21 485 159/65/67 + email luis.zaqueu@one.un.org)