[JURIST] Judicial corruption is hurting the rule of law around the world, according to an annual report on the problem released Thursday by Transparency International (TI) [advocacy website]. TI's Global Corruption Report 2007 [PDF text; press release] found judicial corruption to be particularly prevalent in the former Soviet republics in eastern and central Europe, and central Asia. In Moscow alone, the report found that 70 percent felt that it was useless to use the judicial system because the "unofficial costs," such as bribes, were too high. TI also found that only eight percent of the people in newly independent states used the judicial system. In contrast, 23 percent of North Americans and 19 percent of people residing in the European Union have used the judicial system.
The study also cited the erosion of judicial independence in a variety of countries, including the United States. The US was criticized for holding judicial election campaigns sponsored by private funding, which the report says will inevitably affect judicial independence. TI recommends governments use independent, transparent, and merit-based judicial appointment bodies to select judges, who should be protected from executive and legislative interference once appointed. RFE/RL has more.