Daily Archives: 16/11/2020

Poland: Treatment of lawyer Roman Giertych undermines independence of legal profession


Detention of Roman Giertych. The lawyers 'defense attorneys directed their  complaints against the investigators' actions - Polish News

On 15 October 2020, Polish lawyer Roman Giertych was detained by the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) on accusations of money laundering. His house and office were searched and prosecutors imposed preventive measures, including suspension of his right to practice law. Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Commission of Jurists and the Amsterdam Bar Association are concerned that the manner in which these measures were taken is inconsistent with international standards on the independence of the legal profession. A PDF version of the full statement can be found here.

Roman Giertych has worked on a series of high-profile cases against the governing Law and Justice party. He has also represented various prominent opposition figures, including Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister and head of the Civic Platform opposition party, and former president of the European Council. Mr. Giertych’s arrest happened one day before the scheduled detention hearing in another politically significant high-profile case, concerning Leszek Czarnecki, in which Roman Giertych was appointed as defence counsel.

According to the information available to Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Amsterdam Bar Association, Mr. Giertych was arrested merely to serve him with charges. He was not given a chance to appear voluntarily. On 22 October 2020, Mr Giertych’s defense lawyers filed four complaints with the court about the actions of the Poznań prosecutor’s office relating to his arrest and the search of his home and office.

Professional lawyers’ associations such as the National Council of Attorneys-at Law, the Association of Attorneys-At-Law “Defensor Iurius”, the Polish Bar Council and the Council of the Warsaw Bar Association of Advocates have expressed “great concern” about Mr. Giertych’s detention, the search of his house and office, and the preventive measures that were taken against Mr. Giertych.

Search of Mr. Giertych’s house and office: attorney-client privilege

Mr. Giertych was arrested by officers from the CBA outside a Warsaw court. According to the information available to L4L, the ICJ and the Amsterdam Bar Association, officers from the CBA conducted a search of Mr. Giertych’s house, after a search warrant was issued by the prosecutor. After his arrest, Mr. Giertych was brought to his house to participate in the search. The search of his house started before representatives of the Warsaw Bar Association could arrive, in breach of the procedures set out in the Polish Criminal Procedure Code and Advocates’ Code of Ethics[1]. Moreover, the searches of his house and office were apparently carried out simultaneously, making it impossible for Mr. Giertych to be present at both places at the same time, even though both locations contained materials covered by attorney-client privilege.

During the search in his home, Mr. Giertych fell unconscious on his bathroom floor and was rushed to the hospital. Consequently, he could no longer particpate in the house search. After being hospitalized and while still unconscious, the public prosecutor presented Mr. Giertych with charges.



In Poland, judges have already been intimidated, now lawyers seem to turn


EU: Bring Human Rights to the Top of Central Asia Agenda


European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, should prioritize respect for human rights and the rule of law.

On November 17, 2020, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will meet remotely with foreign ministers from each of the five Central Asian countries, KazakhstanKyrgyzstanTajikistanTurkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, for the 16th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting. It is the first such gathering since Borrell took office in December 2019.

“Central Asian countries’ responses to this year’s crises would have been more effective if they had lived up to their pledges to respect rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU should be clear that greater support to the region is tied to genuine human rights reforms.”

The new EU strategy for Central Asia, adopted in 2019, equipped the EU to advocate for upholding human rights standards in the region. The strategy is based on the premise that democracy and the rule of law are necessary to make public institutions more responsive and accountable to their citizens.


Until the end of April, Tajikistan denied the existence of Covid-19 in the country. Those documenting the spread of the disease faced retaliation. Over 150 political opponents, critics, or their lawyers remain behind bars for lengthy prison terms on political grounds. Prison conditions remain abysmal; activists report widespread torture and ill-treatment in detention. Critics in exile face attacks and abusive extradition requests, and their families and relatives at home are harassed and detained. Violence against women and girls remains a serious concern.





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