Series one

Safeguarding the Rule of Law in Challenging Times


Safeguarding the Rule of Law

The introduction of emergency legislation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been immediate, understandable, and effective. But often it has been drafted and delivered without allowing for judicial oversight. What is the role of the judiciary in ensuring emergency legislation does not impinge on the rights of the citizen? How can the judiciary ensure that domestic safeguards are upheld and international standards are followed? In this episode, we discuss these issues with Judge José Igreja Matos, President of the European Association of Judges, and hear about court challenges to emergency legislation in the Czech Republic from Dr. Jan Grinc, Professor at Charles University. Judge Katica Artuković from Bosnia Herzegovina also provides an on-the-ground view from the bench during the pandemic, and we shine a spotlight on the Brijuni Statement on Judicial Independence, a regional statement that highlights many of the principles examined in this episode.


[1:53] Interview with Judge José Igreja Matos, President of the European Association of Judges and Vice-President of the International Association of Judges

Honorable José Igreja Matos is a Judge at the Court of Appeal of Porto in Portugal. Judge Igreja was appointed a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Judicial Integrity Network in April 2018. He has been President of the European Association of Judges since October 2016 and is also the Vice President of the International Association of Judges since 2012 and First Vice President since 2018. He has served in the Portuguese judiciary since 1989.

[15:58] Interview with Dr. Jan Grinc, Charles University Faculty of Law, about Emergency Measures in the Czech Courts

Jan Grinc is a senior lecturer of constitutional law and theory of state at the Faculty of Law, Charles University. He is the author of a monograph on national parliaments and the democratic legitimacy of the European union and is currently working on research of the interaction between the Czech Constitutional Court and the legislator.

[21:31] Report from Judge Katica Artuković, Vice-president of the Association of judges in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Judge Katica Artuković currently serves as a Judge at the Široki Brijeg County Court, and formerly served at the Ljubuški Municipal Court. She is a graduate from the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Republic of Croatia. Judge Artuković is currently in the final phase of writing her doctoral dissertation on the topic “Extreme Necessity in Legal Theory and Judicial Practice.” She is the President of the Judicial Branch of West Herzegovina Canton, the Vice-President of the Association of Judges in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Deputy Chair of the High Judicial Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina Working Group on Security of Judicial Institutions and Holders of Judicial Functions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has spent her career as a legal educator for numerous organizations, including the Commercial Law Development Programs, Department of Commerce; several United States Embassies; the Council of Europe; and CEELI Institute. Judge Artuković has written several publications about the judiciary and continues to create, teach, and lead be a leader in justice.


Access to Justice in Times of Judicial Lockdown by Judge José Igreja Matos
Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct
Questionnaire on the Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic by the International Association of Judges
Decision of the Prague Municipal Court concerning emergency measures (in Czech)
Decision of the Czech Constitutional Court concerning emergency measures (in Czech)
Statement on the Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary (Brijuni Statement) by the Conference of Chief Justices of Central and Eastern Europe

This project has been made possible through the generous support of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) at the U.S. Department of State.​