Daily Archives: 29/06/2018

Moldova: UN expert urges Moldova to end its “punitive attitude” to human rights defenders

June 29, 2018

Image result for un office on human rights

The Government of Moldova must adopt a more positive approach to human rights defenders and publicly recognize the crucial role played by civil society, says a UN human rights expert.

“Despite a globally satisfactory legislative framework, the situation of human rights defenders requires improvement in the Republic of Moldova,” says UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst in a statement ending his first official visit to the country.

“Human rights defenders and journalists are victims of stigmatization campaigns, lawyers face politically motivated criminal charges or are threatened whenever they defend people with dissenting voices, and journalists’ access to information is restricted,” he added.

“Moreover, officials from Moldova’s National Human Rights Institutions feel disregarded in practice,” said Mr. Forst, the Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights defenders.

“The Government must end its punitive attitude towards human rights defenders, and embrace a more supportive approach to civil society in spite of possible disagreements and criticism” said Mr. Forst.

“While civil society organizations and human rights defenders have the right to freely conduct their human rights work and the Government has publicly declared its openness to engage with them, in practice human rights defenders face several challenges,” Mr. Forst emphasized.

“I have received allegations of intimidation and threats towards human rights defenders by public authorities, particularly after having expressed criticism of decisions taken by the Government,” he said.

https://www.ohchr.org/CH/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23295&LangID=E

Poland: Press release on the proposed reform of the Supreme Court in Poland

June 29, 2018

LSG logo

In a press release, the Law Society of England and Wales expresses its concerns over the upcoming reform of the Polish Supreme Court that would curtail the rule of law in the country.

 

The new legislation is set to come into force on 3 July and may lead to the dismissal of almost 40% of existing Supreme Court’s judges, by reducing the retirement age from 70 to 65 years of age. It would also provide discretionary powers to the President of the Republic to decide over the composition of the Court. The proposed amendments are in stark violation of the principle of irremovability of judges as enshrined in regional and international law, and should therefore be halted.

The European Union is already undertaking dialogue with the Government of Poland in this regard. It is envisaged that the European Court of Justice may also have powers to take interim measures to suspend the implementation of the proposed legislative reform and prevent the suspensions of Polish Supreme Court judges foreseen after 3 July.

http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/international/international-rule-of-law/lawyers-at-risk/press-release-on-the-proposed-reform-of-the-supreme-court-in-poland/5065382.article

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-to-open-case-against-poland-over-supreme-court-law/

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/european-commission-to-sue-poland-over-supreme-court-law—sources-10481614

Burma: Gunman tells Yangon court he was “forced” to assassinate U Ko Ni

June 29, 2018

The gunman who fatally shot U Ko Ni at Yangon International Airport last January has told Yangon’s Northern District Court that he was “forced” to kill the distinguished lawyer.

U Kyi Lin shot Ko Ni in the head on January 29, 2017, while the senior legal adviser to the National League for Democracy waited for a taxi with his grandson in his arms, in a rare political assassination that shocked the country. He was arrested at the scene after shooting dead taxi driver U Nay Win, who tried to prevent him from escaping.

Kyi Lin testified yesterday that shooting Ko Ni was an act of self-defence as he and his family had been threatened. He did not reveal who was behind the threats.

The motive for Ko Ni’s killing has not been properly explained but is widely seen as being politically motivated.

In his role with the NLD Ko Ni is thought to have been working on reforms that would have stripped the military of some of its considerable powers that are enshrined in the 2008 constitution. He was also a rare outspoken voice for the country’s Muslim population.

https://frontiermyanmar.net/en/gunman-tells-yangon-court-he-was-forced-to-assassinate-u-ko-ni

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/accused-u-ko-ni-gunman-tells-court-he-was-threatened.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ko_Ni

Azerbaijan: Disbarment of human rights lawyer Irada Javadova

June 29, 2018

Irada Javadova

On 14 June 2018, human rights lawyer Irada Javadova appealed the Presidium of the Bar Association’s decision to disbar her. She had been disbarred on 11 June 2018.

Irada Javadova is a human rights lawyer who was involved in many resonant cases, including working on numerous violations of citizens’ property rights and violations against political activists and human rights defenders. She is the former head of NGO “Human Rights Education”.

 

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/irada-javadova-disbarred

http://www.turan.az/ext/news/2018/6/free/Social/en/72894.htm

https://www.icj.org/azerbaijan-lawyer-irada-javadova-disbarment-decided-in-unfair-proceedings/

Azerbaijan: example of ‘sophisticated’ harassment of human rights lawyers

 

Turkey: 14 LAWYERS ARRESTED AND CHARGED

June 29, 2018

halkin_hukuk.jpeg

On 11 April 2018, Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against 20 lawyers from the People’s Law Office. The indictment claims that the People’s Law Office is a sub-structure of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C), which has been designated a terrorist organization in Turkey. The hearings have been scheduled for between 10 and 15 September 2018.

Between September and December 2017, 17 human rights lawyers from the People’s Law Office were arrested following orders from the Istanbul Peace Criminal Judge. Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Ebru Timtik, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Ayşegül Çağatay, Aytaç Ünsal, Behiç Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu, Ezgi Çakır, Günay Dağ, Naciye Demir, Süleyman Gökten, Şükriye Erden, Yağmur Erener Evin, Yaprak Türkmen and Zehra Özdemir were accused of transmitting instructions from the DHKP-C’s executive team to its members, while Oya Aslan, Barkın Timtik and Özgür Yılmaz, were charged with “being managers of an armed terrorist organization”. 17 of the 20 lawyers facing charges remain in pre-trial detention in a number of different prisons, far from their families and their places of residence.

Since September 2017, People’s Law Office has been raided by the police three times, on 12 September 2017, 18 December 2017 and 20 April 2018. A lawyer from the People’s Law Office stated that on 20 April 2018 the police entered into all 11 flats in the same building which did not belong to People’s Law Office and broke some of their neighbors’ doors.

Following almost a year of detention, the court will hear the majority of the detained lawyers through video call. Only Yaprak Türkmen and Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who have been detained in İstanbul Silivri Prison, will be personally brought to the court room for the hearings. One of the detained lawyers, Ahmet Mandacı, criticized in a letter to the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet that they would be questioned by video call rather than appearing before the judge. He further stated that he was not notified about the indictment although other lawyers in detention had been. On 20 September 2017, Ahmet Mandacı had been released under judicial control, but 10 days later he was arrested at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office.

A trainee lawyer who was arrested with the lawyers from the People’s Law Office, also sent a letter to Cumhuriyet and stated that the prison administration had banned him from any visitors for 100 months as he was protesting he and his fellow lawyers’ isolation. He also stated that he wrote several petitions to the Ministry of Justice, administration of Silivri Prison, Prosecutor’s Office and several courts to contest the solitary confinement of Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Yaprak Türkmen but the authorities responded that it was not under their authority. He further stated that while he had written letters to Selçuk Kozağaçlı the letters had not been given to him. Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Yaprak Türkmen have been kept in solitary confinement in İstanbul Silivri Prison since their arrest in September 2017.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/14-lawyers-arrested-and-charged

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Kenya: Court acquits suspects charged alongside Willie Kimani’s client

June 29, 2018

A man holds a sign with the photos of slain human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josphat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri during a protest at Freedom Corner in Nairobi, July 4, 2016. /PATRICK VIDIJA

Three suspects who had been charged alongside the boda boda rider in the case concerning lawyer Willie Kimani have been freed by a Mavoko court.

Josphat Mwenda, the slain International Justice Mission (IJM) client, had been charged together with Samuel Mogaka Ondicho, Josephat Kibagendi Mogaka and Jotham Waswa.

They were accused of having narcotic drugs, gambling and resisting arrest.

The court ruled on Friday that they had no case to answer.

Magistrate Linus Kassan said the prosecution did not prove that the three found with drugs and resisted arrest.

Mwenda, IJM lawyer Kimani and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were kidnapped on June 23, 2016 when the case was mentioned.

Their mutilated bodies were found eight days later, stashed in gunny bags in a river in Ol-Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County.

AP officers Fredrick Leliman, Leonard Maina, Stephen Chebulet, Silvia Wanjiku and informer Peter Ngugi are on trial for the killings which sparked outrage across the country.

Before he was murdered, Mwenda told the court that he was shot in the hand by Leliman, taken to hospital, held in custody for a week and later dragged to court where more charges were preferred against him.

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/06/29/court-acquits-suspects-charged-alongside-willie-kimanis-client_c1779771

China: Professor Who Called on Chinese President To Resign Faces Subversion Trial

June 28, 2018

Zi Su, a former professor at a ruling Chinese Communist Party school, in an undated photo.

Authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan are moving ahead with the subversion trial of a former professor at a ruling Chinese Communist Party school, although a date has yet to be set for the trial, RFA has learned.

Zi Su was taken away from his home in Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu on Apr. 28, 2017, after he posted an open letter online calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down as head of the party in favor of Hu Deping, son of late ousted Premier Hu Yaobang, whose death in 1989 sparked the student-led Tiananmen Square protests.

He was initially held on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power,” but the charge was changed to the more serious “subversion of state power.”

Lawyers attended Zi’s pretrial hearing at the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court on Tuesday, his defense attorney Ran Tong told RFA.

The defense is calling for an open trial, but the authorities have yet to make a decision on this or on the trial date.

Zi plans to plead “not guilty” to the charges. However, defendants in China’s judicial system who refuse to make “confessions” that are often broadcast by state-run media typically receive much harsher sentences.

Zi also wrote that Xi had launched an “unbridled attack” on rights lawyers and democracy activists, as well as on online freedom of expression.

He said the president’s much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign had been selective, and “waged under a one-party dictatorship.”

Most of all, Zi hit out at the “seven taboos,” a list of things never to be discussed in public life, which were the subject of party Document No. 9, which veteran political journalist Gao Yu was jailed for “leaking overseas.”

They are: universal values of human rights and democratic, constitutional government, press freedom, civil society, citizens’ rights, the historical mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party, the financial and political elite, and judicial independence.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/professor-who-called-on-chinese-president-to-resign-06282018114232.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament-dissent/chinas-unspoken-compact-put-to-test-by-xi-power-play-idUSKCN1GR0WK

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/china-to-try-communist-party-ideologue-for-subversion-after-letters-to-president-01042018115058.html

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/harsh-sentence-expected-for-chinese-professor-over-comments-about-president-53r732sv5

France: Un avertissement requis contre l’avocat lillois Frank Berton

le 27 juin, 2018

Le conseil régional de discipline des barreaux du ressort de Douai s’est réuni lundi 25 juin en formation plénière pour examiner l’affaire Berton. Le délibéré aura lieu le 5 juillet.

 

 

L’avertissement. C’est la plus légère des sanctions qu’un conseil de discipline puisse prononcer à l’encontre de l’un des siens mais la saga disciplinaire de l’avocat Frank Berton est ailleurs. En 2014, Kazim Genc est jugé en appel aux assises de Saint-Omer pour meurtre. Le climat du procès y est décrit comme « délétère » entre l’avocat général Luc Frémiot et l’un des avocats de la défense, Éric Dupond-Moretti. La Voix du Nord est témoin des algarades. Les deux s’affrontent, leur histoire est ancienne. Un procès « âpre » dit aujourd’hui Frank Berton, l’autre avocat de Kazim Genc. « Au bout de trois jours, on a la sensation que le procès bascule, il y a des incidents avec des témoins, des incidents entre Frémiot et Dupond-Moretti, qui bougonne, ça agace la cour. Nous sommes à la veille des plaidoiries, à quelques encablures du réquisitoire, Frémiot se lève, désigne Dupond-Moretti et dit quelque chose du genre “Mais vous, on sait que vous n’aimez pas les jurés de Saint-Omer”. Nous sommes assez stupéfaits. Nous estimons ne plus être en l’état de plaider. Il y a comme une altercation, j’en suis témoin. (…) Après cet incident terrible, nous décidons d’appeler la bâtonnière de Lille. Le procès s’arrête, la présidente des assises Sophie Degouys comprend d’elle-même qu’il y a un souci. L’audience devient invivable, Éric Dupond-Moretti menace Luc Frémiot de poursuites ».

Le lendemain, les deux avocats déposent des conclusions faisant savoir qu’ils quittent le procès car, selon eux, les conditions nécessaires à la tenue d’un procès équitable ne sont pas réunies. « Le bâtonnier de Lille lui-même nous demande de ne pas plaider », ajoute Frank Berton. Le procès est renvoyé, les avocats ne veulent pas d’un renvoi, ils exigent un dépaysement pur et simple du procès. Ce qu’ils n’auront pas. Le 10 janvier 2014, le greffe informe Me Berton et MDupond-Moretti que l’audience se tiendra en mai, toujours à Saint-Omer, sous la présidence de Mme Degouys, avec l’avocat général M. Frémiot et les mêmes deux assesseurs. « Qui est l’avocat de M. Genc ? », interroge lundi la présidente du conseil régional de discipline (CRD), l’avocate Dominique Vanbatten. Les deux ténors, même si la présidente des assises a envoyé, à leur insu, une convocation à Patrick Delbar, qui représente le bâtonnier. Me Delbar ne viendra pas. « Tout cela, on va le découvrir le jour de l’audience, s’agace Frank Berton (…) C’est assez fort de café car nous sommes déjà deux avocats ! ». Il y a aussi cet « audiencement dans le dos », et cette rentrée solennelle en présence de Christiane Taubira pendant laquelle le procureur général se plaint « de ces avocats en mal de publicité », raconte Me Berton. Bref, il « y a un climat délétère favorable à une requête en dépaysement », continue-t-il. Elle sera rejetée le 2 mai 2014.

À l’ouverture du procès, Frank Berton dépose de nouvelles conclusions. Son confrère Dupond-Moretti, qui n’a pas été consulté pour l’audiencement, est indisponible. Il ne reste qu’une matinée. La défense est bancale. La cour d’assises rejette les demandes : M. Genc peut parfaitement être défendu par un seul avocat et si elle fait droit à la demande de la défense, l’accusé ne sera pas jugé dans un délai raisonnable. « C’est le client qui fait le choix de ses avocats, la cour lui dit ‘C’est pas grave, vous vous débrouillerez avec l’autre’ Nous nous inscrivons dans une succession d’événements… ». Frank Berton dépose de nouvelles conclusions, un jeu sur le retrait de la défense et l’autre sur une demande de renvoi du procès. Le procès est à nouveau suspendu. À son retour, la présidente de la cour, puisque la loi le lui permet, le commet d’office. Me Berton refuse. « Je préviens que je vais déposer une requête en récusation sur la base de ce manque d’impartialité et je dis : “Je ne veux pas plaider cette affaire devant cette cour d’assises, devant Mme Degouys, devant l’avocat général et à Saint-Omer !” », raconte l’avocat. L’ordonnance de commission d’office – il y en aura une seconde – est prise mais il est trop tard, Frank Berton, seul, ne reviendra plus au procès. Il invoque sa clause de conscience comme motif d’excuse. Son client, absent également, sera condamné à 25 ans de réclusion criminelle, contre 29 ans en première instance. « Comme quoi, les avocats ça sert pas forcément à grand chose », ironise Frank Berton, lundi, avant d’ajouter « je n’ai jamais quitté la défense de M. Genc. J’ai quitté l’audience ».

https://www.dalloz-actualite.fr/flash/audience-disciplinaire-berton-douai#.WzWnhtIzbIU

http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/404251/article/2018-06-25/le-parquet-general-de-douai-demande-un-avertissement-contre-l-avocat-me-berton

https://www.dalloz-actualite.fr/chronique/proces-disciplinaire-de-me-frank-berton-c-est-l-independance-du-barreau-qui-est-en-jeu#.WzWowdIzbIU

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Berton

The Philippines: No winner in ICC-Duterte tussle

June 29, 2018

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in February the start of a preliminary investigation into a complaint by a Filipino lawyer and two lawmakers which accuse President…

Following the withdrawal, Mr Duterte threatened to arrest the prosecutor if she conducts an investigation in his country arguing that the Philippines is no longer an ICC member, and therefore, the court…

https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1494394/no-winner-in-icc-duterte-tussle

https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/204263-no-decision-yet-international-criminal-court-duterte

http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/06/05/ICC-international-criminal-court-supreme-court.html

http://manilastandardtoday.com/news/top-stories/268027/group-bucks-duterte-move-on-icc.html

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1747820/Manila/Local-News/Group-seeks-to-void-ICC-withdrawal

https://jip.ph/philippines-withdrawal-from-icc-faces-new-challenge-at-sc/

https://www.icc-cpi.int/

https://philippinenmagazin.de/2018/06/26/serie-wie-duterte-supporter-die-oeffentlichkeit-mit-falschen-nachrichten-manipulieren-der-internationale-strafgerichtshof/ (DEUTSCH)

Image may contain: 2 people, including Jude Sabio

Maldives: UN rights expert dismayed by failure to review convictions of Supreme Court justices

June 28, 2018

Image result for office of high commissioner for human rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision not to accept the application made by two convicted Supreme Court justices to have their case reviewed, saying he was concerned by reports of interference and serious irregularities in the judicial procedures that led to the convictions.

The two justices were arrested on charges related to influencing official conduct of judges in the wake of the 1 February 2018 Supreme Court decision which ordered the reinstatement of 12 suspended Members of the Parliament and release and retrial of nine political leaders. Following the arrest of the two justices, the remaining three justices issued a new order, allegedly at the request of the President of the Maldives, overturning its previous unanimous ruling to free the nine leaders.

Both justices were convicted by the Criminal Court in May, and affirmed with a reduced sentence by the High Court in early June. The cases were filed for appeal in the Supreme Court on 13 June, but rejected.

“I am dismayed by the Judges Council’s decision not to accept the application made by Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, despite the reported procedural irregularities in the lower courts,” said Garcia-Sayan. “Due process issues included the use of closed hearings without valid justification; use of protected witnesses without due explanation;  and insufficient time given to the defence to prepare and submit a witness list, further hampered by the difficulties faced by the defendants in accessing their lawyers in Maafushi Prison.”

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23285&LangID=E

https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/maldives-under-fire-from-un-rights-expert-139049

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1806/S00160/failure-to-review-convictions-of-maldives-judges.htm

https://raajje.mv/en/news/35608

https://raajje.mv/en/news/35621

http://www.euronews.com/2018/06/28/maldives-appoints-new-chief-justice-after-predecessor-jailed

https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/maldives-under-fire-from-un-rights-expert-139049

https://scroll.in/latest/884678/former-maldivian-president-mohamed-nasheed-renounces-presidential-bid-citing-illegal-curbs-on-him

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_the_Maldives