International Association of Prosecutors\’ Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors pdf

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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

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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


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.

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