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Mozambique: UN Human Rights Expert Calls for Independent Judiciary

(Dec. 15, 2010) According to a report being prepared by United Nations human rights expert Gabriela Knaul that will be submitted to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in June of 2011, Mozambique needs to intensify its efforts to guarantee a genuinely independent and impartial judiciary. (UN Expert Calls for Independent Mozambique Judiciary, India Blooms (Dec. 11, 2010),

In preparing the report, Knaul visited Mozambican cities, including Maputo, Nampula, and Beira, and met with representatives of the government and members of the judiciary, civil society groups, the United Nations, academia, and the diplomatic community. (Id.)

Knaul highlighted, inter alia, that the independence of the judiciary is directly related to its operational structure, in which judicial decisions should be based on facts and in accordance with the law and without undue influence, inducements, pressures, threats or interference, whether direct or indirect. She further noticed that association with the current ruling party is almost an essential requirement for access to jobs in the public sector, including judicial careers, as well as for career advancement and job security. The party association and a deficient system of checks and balances combine to slow down the development of an unbiased judiciary, concluded Knaul. (Id.)

On the positive side, Knaul welcomed several initiatives being undertaken in the justice system and challenged the Mozambican office in charge of fighting corruption (Gabinete Central de Combate a Corrupção) to seek to create a culture of accountability and to strengthen its efforts to investigate and prosecute corruption. (Id.)