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UN expert on independence of judges and lawyers to visit Mozambique

GENEVA (3 December 2010) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms. Gabriela Knaul, is visiting Mozambique from 6-10 December 2010. The visit is a continuation of the mission which was suspended earlier this year, on 1 September 2010.

“The continuation of the mission is important as it will allow me to have a complete picture of the functioning of the justice system and enable me to offer concrete recommendations to assist the country in exploring avenues to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of the justice system,” Ms. Knaul said.

The Special Rapporteur will visit Maputo and Beira 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.

The UN expert will examine the independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, the organization and functioning of the legal profession, the effectiveness and independence of the body in charge of the management and discipline of the judiciary and the level of access of the population to the justice system. She will also examine the respect of fair trial guarantees in the country and the policy and legal framework regulating the judiciary, the independence and impartiality of judges and magistrates, and the free exercise of the legal profession.

Ms. Knaul will hold a press conference on 10 December, at the conference room of the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Maputo, during which she will present her preliminary conclusions and recommendations. Her report on the visit will be presented to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.

Gabriela 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

OHCHR Country Page – Mozambique: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/MZIndex.aspx

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: Gustavo Mahoque (Tel: + 258 21 481 435 + email: gustavo.mahoque@undp.org)