Tag Archives: Armenia

Armenia: Justice Ministry Seeks To Protect Embattled Lawyers

January 16, 2019

Armenia - Angry residents of Echmiadzin block a highway in protest against a Yerevan court's decision to release retired General Manvel Grigorian from pretrial detention, January 12, 2019.

Armenia’s Justice Ministry and national bar association have drafted a bill that would make it a crime to insult lawyers or threaten them and their family members with violence.

The move results from angry public reactions to high-profile court cases involving former senior government and military officials accused of corruption. They have also targeted lawyers representing some of those former officials, including Manvel Grigorian, a retired army general prosecuted on corruption charges.

Last week one of Grigorian’s lawyers, Arsen Mkrtchian, was confronted outside a court in Yerevan by protesters furious with his client’s recent release from pretrial detention. Some of those protesters verbally abused Mkrtchian and spat at his car.

Armenia’s Chamber of Advocates condemned the incident and demanded stronger government protection of its members dealing with sensitive criminal cases. The chairman of the bar association, Ara Zohrabian, said earlier this week that failure to do so would put lawyers at risk of serious physical attacks.

The resulting bill drafted by the Justice Ministry and the Chamber of Advocates calls for criminalizing slander, insults and threats voiced against lawyers. All forms of libel were decriminalized in Armenia about a decade ago.

Not all Armenian lawyers agree with the proposed bill.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/29713834.html

http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1490/armenia-harassment-lawyers-working-high-profile-cases

http://www.armenews.com/spip.php?page=article&id_article=6710 (FRANCAIS)

Armenia/Turkey: La députée d’origine arménienne du Parlement de Turquie, Selina Dogan : « les menaces contre mon mari deviennent sérieuses »

le 12 janvier, 2019

« Mon mari est avocat depuis près de 20 ans, il est menacé pour des dossiers qu’il réalisa depuis 2011 »a confié la députée d’origine arménienne du Parlement de Turquie, Selina Dogan. Revenant ainsi sur les publications et les menaces à l’encontre de son mari, l’avocat Kurde-Alévi, Erdal Dogan. « Mon mari était l’avocat de Hrant Dink de son vivant, et après l’assassinat de ce dernier, il est devenu l’avocat de la famille Dink. En 2007 il avait défendu l’affaire de Malaya où trois chrétiens étaient assassinés »continue Selina Dogan. Le site Tert.am auquel Selina Dogan a accordé l’interview rappelle les menaces de mort reçus par son mari qui défend les intérêts des Arméniens devant les tribunaux de Turquie. Erdal Dogan -outre la défense de l’intérêt des Arméniens- travaille également sur le dossier des massacres de Dersim dans les années 1937-1938 ainsi que de l’assassinat des intellectuels turcs. Des dossiers qui ne sont pas de nature à plaire à une partie de la Turquie et notamment les nationalistes. « Les menaces contre mon mari continuent depuis 7 ans déjà. Il tente de trouver des moyens pour se protéger mais en Turquie la situation économique et la crise politique et le monde judiciaire lié au pouvoir sont autant de menaces sérieuses contre lui » dit Selina Dogan.

http://www.armenews.com/spip.php?page=article&id_article=6522&recher=oui

http://www.armenews.com/spip.php?page=article&id_article=6430

https://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/204526-avukat-erdal-dogan-tehdidin-sorusturulmasi-icin-bassavci-vekili-gorevlendirildi (TURKCE)

http://www.agos.com.tr/tr/yazi/21854/avukat-erdal-dogan-can-guvenliginden-kaygili (TURKCE)

https://mknews.eu/2019/01/17/tremei-gia-tin-zoi-toy-o-erdal-dogan-dikigoros-toy-hrant-dink-poy-dolofonithike-to-2007-stin-konstantinoypoli/ (GREEK)

Turkey/Armenia: Lawyer says he could be victim of assassination attempt by ‘deep forces’

January 5, 2019

A lawyer who is known for taking on the cases of Armenians has said he is being followed by suspicious people and fears that he could become the victim of an assassination attempt by “deep forces” in Turkey, the artıgerçek news website reported on Friday.

Lawyer Erdal Doğan posted some photos on Twitter on Thursday that showed two suspicious people in front of his law office in İstanbul on Dec. 24. Doğan said these two people were seeking information from reception as to when he comes to work and leaves and whether he would drop by his office that day as well as what his phone number was. These people, he said, come several times a day and try to gather information on him.

The lawyer said he notified the İstanbul police about the suspicious individuals and was given a security guard.

In remarks to artigerçek, Doğan said he was contacted by a suspicious person two-and-a-half years ago who told him to take on a specific divorce case, saying, “I have learned that you are accepting the cases of Armenians.”

The lawyer said he received death threats over social media when he joined as a co-plaintiff lawyer in the trial of the suspects in the Zirve Publishing House murder trial.

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/05/lawyer-says-he-could-be-victim-of-assassination-attempt-by-deep-forces/

https://eldh.eu/en/2018/11/22/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2019/

Updated Report: Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2018)

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing

Turkey/Armenia: Prosecutors launch investigation into Diyarbakır Bar Association

December 27, 2018

Diyarbakır Barosu

The chief prosecutor’s office in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has launched an investigation into several statements made by the former head and the members of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, Duvar news site reported on Thursday.

The prosecutor’s office launched the investigation under the Article 301 in the Turkish Criminal Code, which states that it is illegal to “insult Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions.”

The bar association said in a written statement that the investigation was related to several press releases and reports of the institution. One of the press releases was made on April 24, 2017 to mark the anniversary of the deportation of Armenian intellectuals from Istanbul in 1915.

The association is also being investigated for using the work “Kurdistan” in a press release criticising a parliamentary disciplinary action against Osman Baydemir, a former deputy of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and former mayor of Diyarbakır.

The prosecutors accuse the bar association of “failing to recognise the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation” in a report that examined the deaths of two Turkish civilians, a father and a son, in 2017. The civilians were reportedly hit by an armed dronebelonging to Turkish military in a rural area in the southeastern province of Hakkari.

https://ahvalnews.com/article-301/prosecutors-launch-investigation-diyarbakir-bar-association

https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/12/28/diyarbakir-bar-association-investigated-for-insult-to-turkishness/

http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/204099-investigation-against-diyarbakir-bar-association

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2018/12/27/diyarbakir-barosu-hakkinda-sorusturma-baslatildi/ (TURKCE)

http://gazetekarinca.com/2018/12/diyarbakir-barosu-baskani-elci-cinayetinin-muhtemel-failleri-tespit-edildi/ (TURKCE)

http://www.diyarbakirbarosu.org.tr/ (TURKCE)

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing

Armenia: Lawyers of former Armenian president threatened

August 7, 2018

The defence for Robert Kocharyan is protesting the government’s allegedly indifferent attitude towards the situation

The lawyers of former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan, who is currently under arrest, have reported threats made against them.

One of the lawyers, Hayk Alumyan, said that he began receiving threats as soon as he agreed to help defend Robert Kocharyan.

He quoted one of the threats: “You will be punished. You are a traitor to the nation. You will be convicted with Robert. You came out against the people, and we know where you live.”

Former president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan has been accused of ‘overthrowing the constitutional order’, which refers to the events of 1 and 2 March 2008. After the presidential elections of 19 February 2008, supporters of the first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, came out in protest, demanding that the election results be re-examined. They claimed that Ter-Petrosyan had won and not Serzh Sargsyan as was announced by the Central Election Committee. Robert Kocharyan, still president at the time, imposed a state of emergency, and on 1 March 2008 the police and the military were brought in to disperse the protesters. Ten people died.

Alumyan says that law enforcement agencies know about the number of threats being made on social media networks, but have decided not to take any steps to punish guilty parties. He also believes that the threats made against him and other lawyers are an attempt to exert direct influence and pressure on the trial.

“I have never seen lawyers subjected to something of the sort. For me, these are signs of dangerous precedents. Everybody says there will be no pressure on the trial. And I see that there truly is no pressure from the side of the authorities. But if the courts are placed under severe pressure by the publix, then what’s the difference? The judge overseeing the trial would still feel pressured.”

Human rights advocates and colleagues of the lawyers have expressed their support.

https://jam-news.net/?p=116511

https://hetq.am/eng/news/86555/the-statement-of-advocate-vahe-grigoryan-about-the-problems-of-independence-of-the-armenian-bar.html

https://en.azvision.az/news/71045/154-solicitors-started-hunger-strike-in-armenia-list-.html

Armenia: Lawyers go on strike in Armenia

February 8, 2018

Hundreds of lawyers have gone on strike in Armenia, protesting a draft law they say ‘targets lawyers’. The bill would allow judges to fine them for contempt of the court. The lawyers began a two day strike began on 7 February.

The bill has faced criticism as lawyers fear it will be used to limit their rights during court hearings. It would allow judges to fine them by up to ֏100,000 ($210).

The bill was drafted by the Government and passed its first hearing in parliament in November, according to AzatutyunRFE/RL’s Armenian Service. Armenian law already penalises contempt of court, but the draft would introduce additional fines exclusively for lawyers.

Azatutyun quoted Justice Minister Davit Harutyunyan, the author of the bill, as saying that these provisions had now been removed from the bill.

But according to them, Harutyunyan ‘made clear the amendments will be incorporated into another code’, the Procedural Code, which they plan to amend later in 2018.

In an 8 February statement, the Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Armenia, which organised the protests, said ‘there is no need to establish a judicial penalty for lawyers separately’. The Chamber is a non-profit organisation claiming almost 2,000 members.

http://oc-media.org/lawyers-go-on-strike-in-armenia/

https://massispost.com/2018/02/armenian-lawyers-strike/

https://mediamax.am/en/news/society/5206/

http://oc-media.org/lawyers-postpone-rallies-in-armenia-as-parliament-passes-controversial-bill/

http://hetq.am/eng/news/85533/lawyers-in-armenia-to-stage-strike-tomorrow.html

https://mediamax.am/en/news/society/5206/

Armenia: Advocate Vahe Grigoryan About the Problems of Independence of the Armenian Bar

March 14, 2018

The statement of advocate Vahe Grigoryan about the problems of independence of the Armenian Bar made in the framework of the 09.03.2018 Conference on the Current Challenges and Opportunities of the Bars and Law Societies of the Council of Europe Member States

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to skip the issues relating to the organisational aspects of today’s event, including the strange role of the President of the Bar Chamber in them to save time and to focus on what is most important to us.

I will start by thanking the experts invited to this event by the co-organisers for their readiness to share their interesting and informative opinions with us.

Given the fact that this is the first event in Yerevan with the participation of the interested organisations, including the ‘opposition advocates’ (please note that this label was given to us by the President of the Chamber and not me or any other colleague of mine), I would like to draw the attention of the present to a number of problems the Armenian Bar faces today.

Around 30 advocates have already applied to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) expressing their conerns about a number of serious problems the Bar faces today and we look forward to hearing the positions of this and a number of other international bodies on solutions to these problems.

We are of the position that the President and the Board of the Armenian Bar Chamber have in fact transformed this professional self-regulated body into an instrument  in the hands of the Armenian Government with a view to subjecting it to a type of oversight, which is contrary to the standards enshrined in our Constitution and the relevant national and international instruments for regulation of the legal profession.

http://hetq.am/eng/news/86555/advocate-vahe-grigoryan-about-the-problems-of-independence-of-the-armenian-bar.html

http://www.lragir.am/index/eng/0/politics/view/38016

https://armenianbar.org/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/04/19/police-armenia-detain-dozens-demonstrators

CCBE/Armenia: CONFERENCE “Current challenges and opportunities of the bars and law societies of the Council of Europe member states” 9 March 2018, Yerevan, Armenia

Support to the Implementation of the Judicial Reform in Armenia

Council of Europe Project “Support to the implementation of judicial reform in Armenia”, CCBE and the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia

The Council of Europe, the CCBE and the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia is organising the conference with the aim to provide a platform for sharing information and experience on the current challenges of the bars and law societies, explore detrimental issues in the bar associations and propose concrete steps for strengthening the cooperation and ties amongst the bar associations and law societies of the Council of Europe member states.

The main objective of the Conference is to facilitate a dialogue and exchange of the best practice between the bars and law societies of different Council of Europe member states. The exchange that will take place between professionals from different countries shall create a solid platform for argumentation and it seeks to generate – and contribute to – a wider debate about the potential improvements in the bar associations and for the profession of an advocate. Even if the directions and the policies of the bar reforms may differ from country to country, discussion on the primary concepts and challenges unites different Council of Europe member states.

The scope of the Conference: The one day-long discussion will include presentations by leading members of CCBE, experts and representatives of bars and law societies of different Council of Europe member states.

The discussions and debates will be held on the following topics: 

http://www.ccbe.eu/actions/events/

Click to access Concept-Note-on-Conference-in-Armenia-9-March-2018.pdf

http://www.advocates.am/en/

Turkey/Armenia: NANTERRE 17 OCTOBRE La cause arménienne en procès

le 8 octobre, 2017

Nouvelles d'Armenie

Deux procès qui mettront en cause des Arméniens se tiendront le 17 octobre. L’un à Paris, devant la 17e Chambre correctionnelle où comparaitront Ara Toranian et Sam Tilbian, l’autre à Nanterre en correctionnelle aussi. Y seront jugés deux jeunes étudiants qui avaient lancé en mars 2015 de l’eau colorée sur l’ambassadeur de Turquie venue faire une conférence dans une faculté parisienne. Nous publions ci-dessous le communiqué leur comité de soutien, signé par nombre de personnalités et d’associations. Il souligne en substance que la violence est du côté de l’État de turc dont les adversaires n’ont pas que des notes de pressing à payer pour prix de leur opposition. A.T.

L’impunité étant mère du crime et de nouvelles impunités, celle de l’Etat turc pour ses crimes passés encourage ses exactions présentes. En Turquie, aujourd’hui plus de 200 écrivains sont en prison et des centaines d’étudiants ont subi le même sort ; nous ne les oublions pas. Hrant Dink journaliste turc d’origine arménienne a été assassiné il y a 10 ans, victime du nationalisme turc, pour avoir milité pour la reconnaissance du génocide des Arméniens. Selahattin Demirtaş, coprésident du Parti Démocratique des Peuples, HDP, troisième parti au sein de l’Assemblée nationale turque, est placé depuis le mois de novembre en détention préventive : il représentait la voix du seul contre pouvoir ayant la capacité de s’opposer au président Erdogan et à la menace qu’il représente pour les droits des peuples vivant en Turquie. Ayse Acinikli et Ramazan Demir, avocats et défenseurs des libertés, ont été emprisonnés pour avoir exercé leur profession, ce qui leur a valu la qualification de « terroriste ». Comme d’autres magistrats, avocats, syndicalistes, journalistes, académiciens de Turquie, victimes d’une instrumentalisation de la justice de leur pays, ils sont encore poursuivis aujourd’hui. Garo Paylan député du HDP, s’est vu exclure du Parlement pour avoir « osé » prononcer le mot « génocide » concernant les Arméniens.

http://armenews.com/article.php3?id_article=147511

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx (ENGLISH – The Award will be given October 13, 2017 in Sydney)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/ramazan-demir (ENGLISH)

Armenia: Fair Trials joins calls to protect defence lawyers in Armenia

August 9, 2017

Fair Trials has joined the call to the Armenian authorities to stop harassment of criminal defence lawyers, through a letter coordinated by the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP), a coalition of NGOs based in countries spanning from North America to Europe and Central Asia.

1000px-Flag_of_Armenia.svgThe letter is a response to the reported harassment of lawyers defending people involved in the July 2016 protests, which called for the release of opposition leader Jirair Sefilian and the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan. The lawyers in question have been trying to defend some members of the armed opposition group Sasna Tsrer, who are facing trial having seized a police station in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city, to voice its calls for reform and ask people to join their protest. Thousands of people took the protest to the streets, until police forces put down the demonstrations through the use of force. According to official sources, over 60 people have been prosecuted and will face trial in relation to these events.

Lawyers Arayik Papikyan, Mushegh Shushanyan and Nina Karapetyants from the Helsinki Association of Armenia are among those who have faced state-enforced harassment. Specifically, they have been prevented from visiting their clients in detention and holding private discussions with them. Their notes on the cases have been confiscated and destroyed by officials in the detention facilities, thus hindering them from building an appropriate defence for their clients.

Harassment did not stop at prison but continued in court. Some of the lawyers have been subjected to lengthy and intrusive security searches when arriving to court, a procedure that was not applied to the prosecutors and other actors in the trial. Moreover, some judges and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have requested the Chamber of Advocates to take disciplinary sanctions against Arayik Papikyan, Mushegh Shushanyan and Nina Karapetyants because of their social media activities and media interviews regarding irregularities during the court proceedings, as well as broader developments in Armenia. The Chamber of Advocates has initiated disciplinary proceedings in these cases and the proceedings are currently under way. If found guilty, these lawyers can be fined and even deprived of their license to practice law.

https://www.fairtrials.org/fair-trials-joins-calls-to-protect-defence-lawyers-in-armenia/

http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1490/armenia-harassment-lawyers-working-high-profile-cases

http://en.aravot.am/2017/07/01/196341/

http://en.aravot.am/2017/07/01/196347/