DOC/OS(XXX)247 Page 4 o) Promotion of judicial officials shall be based on objective factors, in particular ability, integrity and experience. p) Judicial officials may only be removed or suspended from office for gross misconduct incompatible with judicial office, or for physical or mental incapacity that prevents them from undertaking their judicial duties. q) Judicial officials facing disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be entitled to guarantees of a fair hearing including the right to be represented by a legal representative of their choice and to an independent review of decisions of disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings. r) The procedures for complaints against and discipline of judicial officials shall be prescribed by law. Complaints against judicial officers shall be processed promptly, expeditiously and fairly. s) Judicial officers are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In exercising these rights, they shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of their profession. t) Judicial officers shall be free to form and join professional associations or other organizations to represent their interests, to promote their professional training and to protect their status. u) States may establish independent or administrative mechanisms for monitoring the performance of judicial officers and public reaction to the justice delivery processes of judicial bodies. Such mechanisms, which shall be constituted in equal part of members the judiciary and representatives of the Ministry responsible for judicial affairs, may include processes for judicial bodies receiving and processing complaints against its officers. v) States shall endow judicial bodies with adequate resources for the performance of its their functions. The judiciary shall be consulted regarding the preparation of the budget and its implementation. 5) Impartial Tribunal a) A judicial body shall base its decision only on objective evidence, arguments and facts presented before it. Judicial officers shall decide matters before them without any restrictions, improper influence, inducements, pressure, threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason. b) Any party to proceedings before a judicial body shall be entitled to challenge its impartiality on the basis of ascertainable facts that the fairness of the judge or judicial body appears to be in doubt. c) The impartiality of a judicial body could be determined on the basis of three relevant facts: (i) that the position of the judicial officer allows him or her to play a crucial role in the proceedings; (ii) the judicial officer may have expressed an opinion which would influence the decisionmaking ; (iii) the judicial official would have to rule on an action taken in a prior capacity. d) The impartiality of a judicial body would be undermined when: (i) a former public prosecutor or legal representative sits as a judicial officer in a case in which he or she prosecuted or represented a party; (ii) a judicial official secretly participated in the investigation of a case; (iii) a judicial official has some connection with the case or a party to the case; (iv) a judicial official sits as member of an appeal tribunal in a case which he or she decided or participated in a lower judicial body. In any of these circumstances, a judicial official would be under an obligation to step down. e) A judicial official may not consult a higher official authority before rendering a decision in order to ensure that his or her decision will be upheld.