Belarus: Human rights activists alarmed over new wave of harassment against lawyers

August 30, 2017

Pavel Sapelka

The Ministry of Justice has reportedly ordered an extraordinary certification of a number of lawyers, which may void the licenses of some of them, including those involved in politically motivated cases.

According to the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Ministry has inspected the work of the Minsk City and Mahilioŭ Regional Bar Associations. As a result, 25 lawyers will have to undergo certification.

In addition, about 60 lawyers are awaiting regular recertification, which is held every five years. They will take their tests in local bar associations. However, there is a list of eight more counsels, who will be evaluated by the Ministry of Justice in November. According to the rules, which regulate the certification procedure, it can be carried out by both the Ministry’s Qualification Commission and local bar associations. And yet, the situation does not seem so clear.

On the one hand, the certification procedures may look like ordinary procedural steps within the professional community. On the other hand, of great concern is the sudden extraordinary nature of these decisions, taking into account the vulnerability of the institute of lawyers before the Ministry of Justice.

Click to access EN_20170912_HRL_Belarus_Concerns-regarding-the-situation-of-Belarus-lawyers-and-recertification.pdf


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