STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY ANDSTATEMENT OF THE ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RIGHT OF PROSECUTORS
ADOPTED BY THE
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROSECUTORS
ON THE TWENTY THIRD DAY OF APRIL 1999
The International Association of Prosecutors was established in June 1995 at the
United Nations offices in Vienna and was formally inaugurated in September 1996 at its first General Meeting in Budapest. In the following year in Ottawa, the General Meeting approved the Objects of the Association which are now enshrined in Article 1.3 of the Association’s Constitution. One of the most important of these Objects is to:
“[…] promote and enhance those standards and principles which are generally recognised internationally as necessary for the proper and independent prosecution of offences.”
In support of that particular objective a committee of the Association, chaired by Mrs. Retha Meintjes of South Africa, set to work to produce a set of standards for prosecutors. A first draft was circulated to the entire membership in July 1998 and the final version was approved by the Executive Committee at its Spring meeting in Amsterdam in April 1999.
The International Association of Prosecutors’ Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors is a statement which will serve as an international benchmark for the conduct of individual prosecutors and of prosecution services. We intend that this should not simply be a bold statement but rather a working document for use by prosecution services to develop and reinforce their own standards. Much of the Association’s efforts in the future will be directed to promoting the Standards and their use by working prosecutors throughout the world.
Whereas the objects of the International Association of Prosecutors are set out in Article 1.3 of its Constitution and include the promotion of fair, effective, impartial and efficient prosecution of criminal offences, and the promotion of high standards and principles in the administration of criminal justice;
Whereas the United Nations, at its Eighth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Havana, Cuba in 1990, adopted Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors;
Whereas the community of nations has declared the rights and freedoms of all persons in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent international covenants, conventions and other instruments;
Whereas the public need to have confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system;
Whereas all prosecutors play a crucial role in the administration of criminal justice;
Whereas the degree of involvement, if any, of prosecutors at the investigative stage varies from one jurisdiction to another;
Whereas the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is a grave and serious responsibility; and
Whereas such exercise should be as open as possible, consistent with personal rights, sensitive to the need not to re-victimise victims and should be conducted in an objective and impartial manner;
Therefore the International Association of Prosecutors adopts the following as a statement of standards of professional conduct for all prosecutors and of their essential duties and rights.