Standards and Enforcement

 

The 2007 Global Corruption Report of Transparency International provides:  

 

All these are prerequisites for an environment promoting access to justice:  the capacity of (usually) disadvantaged groups of citizens to gain access to courts (or alternative resolution mechanisms) by removing various institutional as well as corruption related barriers within the legal system.  

 

A stellar coalition of U.S.-based grassroots good government advocates noted to the United Nations in 2010, that "(w)hen rogue agents of America’s local, state, and/or federal government  align  to subvert the law,  no amount of legal training,  talent, skill,  or experience 

gurantees any American appropriate relief."  

 

For well over a decade, some legal reform advocates have, via internet, observed people pursue and, to a substantial extent, obtain a variety of things they apparently believed were essential to overcoming U.S. legal system abuse:  a wealthy benefactor, top-notch legal assistance, compelling legal case, celebrity endorsement, international news coverage, broad community support, etc.  With relatively rare exception, those unfortunate enough to be targets of U.S. legal system abuse deplete their funds and fortitude pursuing these "keys to success", only to learn they cannot prevail without broad system reforms, i.e., effective oversight measures.  Although the list is not exhaustive, minimizing the prospect of persecution and torture through U.S. legal system abuse demands the success of a core, U.S.-focused advocacy:  advocacy for whistleblower protection, prosecutor accountability, elimination of state judicial self-policing, and expansion of Department of Justice patterns and practices concerns.  But related progress is stymied by "A Perfect Storm of Inaction".     

 

 

International Standards

 

- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

 

o Article 2, ¶3(a) and (b):  3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:  (a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity; (b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;

 

o Article 7:  No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.  

 

o Article 14, ¶1.: 1. All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

 

o Article 17: 1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

 

o Article 19: 1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.  2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.  3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:  (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

 

o Article 26: All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.    

 

- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

 

o Article 16, ¶1.: 1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 

- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

o Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 

o Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

 

o Article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

 

o Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

 

o Article 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

 

o Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

 

o Article 29, ¶ (2): (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.