Tag Archives: Belgium

UK/Russia/Ukraine: Lawyer-bashing has a new target


Lawyer-bashing has long been a national pastime, with attacks regularly mounted by the press and politicians on ‘fat cat’ defence barristers and ‘activist’ legal aid lawyers for having the nerve to, er, do their job. 

But a new target has emerged – the alleged ‘enablers’ of oligarchs, whose cash was generally welcomed in London until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

So it was that a panel of eminent investigative journalists queued up at the Frontline Club in London on Tuesday evening to pour scorn on claimant media lawyers as the pressure continues to build.

Some firms are ‘becoming the servants of the super-rich’ and using litigation to try and ‘silence a journalist for years’, said Clare Rewcastle Brown, whose work exposing corruption in Malaysia led to her being sued in London and elsewhere.

Paul Caruana Galizia, a reporter at Tortoise Media whose mother Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta in 2017, said London lawyers are offering a ‘one-stop oligarch shop’ and, in certain cases, effectively ‘acting for an organised crime group’.

Even an officer of the court joined in, with Adelaide Lopez – a senior associate at Wiggin who recently represented journalist Catherine Belton – saying that ‘naming and shaming … is probably going to be more effective than anything the SRA is going to do’. Ouch.

Asked whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has the ‘capacity or the competence’ to enforce potential new measures to stop so-called ‘lawfare’, Lopez and fellow lawyer Charlie Holt – UK campaigns manager for English PEN – answered in unison: ‘No.’

Perhaps even Gazette readers who deplore the criticism of lawyers for the clients they represent can agree on that one. 







Ukraine: Lidiya Izovitova took part in online meeting of the CCBE Standing Committee


Ukrainian National Bar Association President Lidiya Izovitova took part in an online meeting of the CCBE Standing Committee in Brussels. The event was joined by European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

The speech of the UNBA/BCU President was devoted to the situation in Ukraine and the peculiarities of the bar operating under martial law.

Internal consolidation, reliable support from advocates’ self-government, which we try to provide to every advocate, as well as maintaining public trust in the Bar are extremely important for the Ukrainian legal profession at this time. The issue of human rights is currently one of the most pressing issues on the agenda for our entire country, for thousands of our citizens. The role of advocates in ensuring the entirety of human rights, the role in protecting human rights cannot be exaggerated,” said Lydia Izovitova.

It is a great responsibility for our entire community to ensure that the parameters of the rule of law in our country do not deteriorate,” said the UNBA President.

Currently, the justice system in Ukraine operates under wartime rules.

We are entrusted with the constitutional function of protecting the rights of citizens, and the right to protection, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, is not subject to restrictions even during martial law. We understand this responsibility to all citizens of Ukraine, and we understand the responsibility to the entire professional community of advocates, “said Lidiya Izovitova. At the same time, advocates do not refuse to provide free legal aid via Free Legal Aid system, in which the payment of fees began to be delayed due to the status of unprotected budget expenditures.

The UNBA President stressed that the self-governing organization of the bar should work continuously and effectively during martial law.

The great resources of our organization – financial, organizational, human, logistical – are now used to help citizens, lawyers and their families. For the sake of transparency of this process, we have created the UNBA Board of Trustees of, which collectively decides on the provision of charitable assistance from the account of the UNBA Charitable Foundation. At this time, we feel the great support of our international partners. We are extremely grateful to all those who supported Ukrainian advocates during this difficult time, “said the UNBA/BCU President to representatives of European lawyers and leaders of the CCBE.

UNBA offices representative offices abroad are involved in providing assistance to all victims of hostilities, providing legal assistance to Ukrainians who are now forced to leave Ukraine free of charge.

Together with the Chairs of the Bar Councils of the regions, UNBA supports the western region’s aid chain for advocates and their families traveling from areas under the Russian invasion. Bar Councils of the regions provide free legal aid to displaced persons, the military and volunteers, working pro bono on a round-the-clock basis.




https://unba.org.ua/news/7384-za-obstavin-voennogo-stanu-vazhlivo-zberegti-misiyu-advokats-koi-profesii-golova-naau-rau.html (UKRAINIAN)



http://www.fbe.org/ (FRANCAIS)


http://www.fbe.org/pagina-principal/ (ESPANOL)

http://www.fbe.org/pagina-iniziale/ (ITALIANO)

http://www.fbe.org/homepage/ (DEUTSCH)

Belgium: Attorney and city councilor of Tournai Benjamin Brotcorne victim of very violent attack


“I was looking for my keys in my pocket.he told uswhen someone comes up behind me and punches me right in the face. I couldn’t make a composite portrait, it all happened so quickly. He was dressed in black and was wearing black leather gloves again. He was very strong and methodically hit me like a boxer without saying anything or asking.

I had a survival reflex, I pushed it away and fled into the inner garden of the estate. There he knocked me down and kept hitting me. No doubt he noticed that it was visible from the balconies overlooking the garden and was even filmed because he suddenly said to me, “Give me your watch.”

I gave it to him – it’s not worth much – and it just broke down.

He wanted nothing but me, and I’m sure it wasn’t theft that motivated his action…”

“I’m convinced that his target is a lawyer…”

The police, who heard the cries and informed about what was going on in the garden, came to the scene in a short time by the lawyer’s secretary. to protect their eyes rather than to support the attacker’s vision.

Benjamin was taken to CHwapi, where he was kept under observation for several hours, exiting with a few stitches, X-rays of sinus cracks, and a certificate of incapacity for two months (even if he told us). return to work as soon as possible).

Benjamin Brotcorne, leader of the Together group in Tournai city council, believes this attack had absolutely nothing to do with his political activities.

According to him, the target is the lawyer.


https://www.lavenir.net/regions/wallonie-picarde/tournai/2022/03/31/lavocat-et-conseiller-communal-tournaisien-benjamin-brotcorne-victime-dune-tres-violente-agression-3U32UUGBKNESJELXTDDICXMNIY/ (FRANCAIS)


https://news.eseuro.com/noticias/358955.html (ESPANOL)

Turkey: Letter to UN for Kurdish politician, ill prisoner Aysel Tuğluk: ‘Take urgent action’


43 bars, law and rights organizations from Turkey and the world have sent a letter to the special rapporteurs and working groups of the United Nations and expressed “grave concern” over “imminent risk to health and life of ill prisoner Aysel Tuğluk.”

Diagnosed with dementia, Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk is still held in the Kocaeli Kandıra Type F Prison despite the medical report of the Kocaeli University concluding that she is not in a state to stay in prison.

In this context, 43 bar associations, law and rights organizations from Turkey and the world have sent a letter to the special rapporteurs and working groups of the United Nations (UN) titled “Urgent Action: Imminent risk to health and life of ill prisoner Aysel Tuğluk.”

In their letter addressed to the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health and the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, the 43 law and rights organizations have expressed their “grave concern over the treatment of the seriously ill prisoner Aysel Tuğluk.”

The letter has explained that after Aysel Tuğluk was diagnosed with dementia, her condition has gotten worse quickly.









https://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/256562-aysel-tugluk-icin-birlesmis-milletler-e-acil-mudahale-cagrisi (TURKCE)

https://bianet.org/kurdi/mafen-mirovan/256588-ji-bo-aysel-tugluke-bang-li-neteweyen-yekbuyi-kirine (KURDI)

https://www.institutkurde.org/info/lettre-a-l-onu-pour-lsex-deputee-kurde-emprisonnee-aysel-tusluk-en-danger-1232552111 (FRANCAIS)

Colombia: Day of the Endangered Lawyer – Wrap up


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Along with the workaday perils of practising law that they share with their male counterparts, such as being gunned down in the street, Colombia’s women lawyers face threats that are particular to them. They could be raped, for example, or suffer another form of sexual assault that aims to intimidate and discourage them from doing their job – which is representing and protecting the vulnerable through the rule of law. Also, women lawyers’ children may be threatened with violence or press ganged into a guerrilla army, where the only subject on the curriculum – Marxist precepts apart – is how to kill.

These are some of the stark truths to emerge from this year’s Day of the Endangered Lawyer (24 January) panel discussion chaired by Law Society international human rights adviser Doctor Marina Brilman. Previous discussions have looked at other countries where the rule of law no longer holds sway, such as Azerbajan, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. This year’s focus is on the South American republic of Colombia, where the 2016 peace agreement was supposed to have ended the 60 year conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the state.

The conflict claimed around 262,000 lives, displaced 6.9m people, saw around 18,000 children forced to join armed groups and many thousands more people ‘disappeared’, raped or tortured. The optimism engendered by the agreement has failed to bear fruit, as the three Colombian lawyers on the panel report.

Dora Lucy Arias Giraldo is a member of Colombia’s leading human rights lawyers’ collective. She begins: ‘The Colombian constitution states that it is the duty of lawyers to promote human rights and represent the vulnerable. And yet the government, working through its own intelligence organisations, has an active strategy of diminishing and weakening our operations through attacks on our children and sexual violence against our (women lawyers’) bodies.’ She concedes: ‘There are protection measures in place regarding gender, but they are under-funded – a particular problem when trying to bring powerful economic players to justice.’

Ana Maria Rodriguez, who is also a human rights lawyer, warns that Colombia’s ‘entire existence as a social justice state’ is under threat. She points to recent ‘reforms’ that were designed specifically to weaken the remit of both public prosecutors and the ombudsman, while increasing the power of the executive to turn a blind eye to government corruption.




https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/rhone/lyon/journee-internationale-des-avocats-en-danger-le-barreau-de-lyon-denoncent-la-situation-de-leurs-conferes-colombiens-2431921.html (FRANCAIS)


https://www.camerepenali.it/cat/11306/24_gennaio_2022_-_giornata_dell_avvocato_minacciato.html (ITALIANO)

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Colombia/UK etc: At risk for upholding the law: Day of the Endangered Lawyer


Lawyers are being arbitrarily arrested, prosecuted and convicted, as well as forcibly disappeared and even killed in countries across the world because of their work upholding the rule of law, the Law Society of England and Wales said to mark the day of the endangered lawyer on 24 January.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “We honour the courage and commitment of lawyers around the world who put their lives at risk so that people’s rights are protected and those who violate them are held accountable.

“Today we think particularly of our colleagues in Afghanistan who helped build the justice system and bring stability to the country under the former government. Since the Taliban took power some have tragically been killed because of the work they did, a few managed to escape, but far too many are in hiding, at risk from not only the Taliban but also from terrorists and criminals they convicted since released from prison.

“The Law Society stands in solidarity with legal professionals around the world. We will continue to work to support them and to contribute to building strong, fair justice systems everywhere.”



https://www.naiz.eus/en/info/noticia/20220124/colombia-entre-los-paises-mas-peligrosos-para-los-abogados (ESPANOL)








https://www.jrf.org.tw/articles/2208%E2%80%8B (MANDARIN)

https://www.icab.cat/ca/actualitat/noticies/noticia/Les-Comissions-de-Defensa-i-de-Justicia-Penal-Internacional-de-lICAB-sadhereixen-al-manifest-del-Dia-de-lAdvocacia-Amenacada-2022/ (CATALON)

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European lawyers demonstrate in solidarity with jailed Turkish attorneys


Lawyers in several European countries this week staged demonstrations in front of Turkish diplomatic missions to show solidarity with attorneys imprisoned in Turkey, according to Turkish media.

Lawyers in the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium demanded the immediate release of imprisoned lawyers affiliated with the now-closed Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD). During the demonstration Norwegian lawyers said they demanded the release of their colleagues who had been imprisoned for doing their job and exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Elsa Leona McClimans, chair of the Norwegian Bar Association, said lawyers did not normally wear their robes at demonstrations but that they had made an exception for such a significant case.

Lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik from the ÇHD are currently under arrest. Both lawyers and 20 others from the association are charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

The ÇHD was closed by a government decree in November 2017.

The prosecutor is requesting prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half years to 53 years for the 22 lawyers.

The prosecutor dropped the charges against Ebru Timtik, a previously imprisoned lawyer who died during a hunger strike in September 2020.

Timtik and her colleague Aytaç Ünsal were arrested in September 2018 for alleged membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C), which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.




https://www.letelegramme.fr/bretagne/le-batonnier-de-lorient-pierre-guillon-ira-au-proces-de-deux-confreres-turcs-12-11-2021-12866283.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/chd-genel-baskani-selcuk-kozagacli-hakkinda-30-yila-kadar-hapis-istemi-haber-1542139 (TURKCE)

Turkey: Progressive Lawyers’ Association case: Prosecutor seeks prison sentences for all lawyers


The prosecutor has submitted their opinion as to the accusations to the İstanbul 18th Heavy Penal Court in the case of lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) and the People’s Law Bureau (HHB).

The next hearing will be held tomorrow (November 17). The court previously ruled that the case should be heard at the Silivri Prisons Campus. It was previously heard at the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan.

Prosecutor Haluk Tunç demanded that all lawyers tried in two separate cases that are now merged be sentenced for “managing an illegal organization”, “membership in an illegal organization” or “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

CLICK – 159-year prison sentence for lawyers was based on ‘non-existent’ evidence 

The prosecutor also requested an arrest warrant for lawyer Taylan Tanay because “of the nature of the crime,” “the charged offense is included in the crimes listed in article 100/3 of the Code of Criminal procedure” and “judicial control measures would be insufficient considering the upper and lower limits of the demanded sentences.”

The arrests of lawyers Barkın Timtik and Selçuk Kozağaçlı should continue, the prosecutor stated.



https://lesad.be/rassemblement-ce-16-novembre-2021-12-h-30-en-soutien-aux-avocats-menaces-en-turquie/ (FRANCAIS)


https://bianet.org/1/13/253389-chd-davasinda-mutalaa-tum-avukatlara-ceza-istendi (TURKCE)

Rwanda deports Belgian lawyer representing Paul Rusesabagina


Paul Rusesabagina, the “Hotel Rwanda” hero turned government critic, was denied access to the Kigali prison where his client is being held pending the verdict of his trial for terrorism and deported to Belgium.

According to Rwandan authorities, Vincent Lurquin was deported and declared persona non grata for violating immigration laws.

The Rwanda Bar Association raised a complaint because Lurquin was not accredited to practice in Rwanda.

He claims he has not been able to see his client for the past year.

“I have not seen my client, that is the whole problem. They refuse to let me see my client, I went to see the President of the Bar who did not want to see me, I went to see the Attorney General who did not want to see me, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice. But in Belgium, the Minister of Foreign Affairs contacted his counterpart. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has also done so and they don’t want to answer us, they don’t want me to see him,” Vincent said.

The Rwanda Bar Association raised a complaint because Lurquin was not accredited to practice in Rwanda.

Authorities said that Vincent came through a visitation visa and was not allowed to work in Rwanda with the said document.

A Rwandan court will deliver next month its delayed verdict in the terrorism trial of Paul Rusesabagina, the judiciary announced on Friday.

Initially, a decision in the highly watched case against the 67-year-old Rusesabagina had been due on Friday but it was delayed without any reason given.

The Rwandan judiciary said on Twitter that the court would now announce its verdict against Rusesabagina and his 20 co-accused on September 20 at 11 am.

Prosecutors have sought a life sentence for Rusesabagina, the former hotelier credited with saving hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide, and whose bravery inspired the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda”.




https://www.lalibre.be/international/afrique/2021/08/22/lavocat-belge-expulse-du-rwanda-demande-le-soutien-de-la-belgique-6YYCW3L4JVGILHDC7HRMLDMI2Q/ (FRANCAIS)



https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2021/08/22/hotel-rwanda-fup/ (VLAAMS)

Belgium: Acquittement pour l’avocat Alexis Deswaef, cité en justice par le commissaire Vandersmissen


L’avocat Alexis Deswaef, attaqué en justice par le commissaire de police Pierre Vandersmissen, pour outrage et harcèlement,  a été complètement acquitté.

Le parquet avait estimé que la suspicion d’outrage à officier de police n’était pas établie, mais que celle de harcèlement l’était. En juillet 2019, le commissaire Pierre Vandersmissen a cité directement devant le tribunal Alexis Deswaef, ancien président de la Ligue des Droits Humains, lui reprochant des faits de harcèlement et d’outrage sur les réseaux sociaux, entre 2008 et 2016.

La défense d’Alexis Deswaef, Me Christophe Marchand et Me Jean-Pierre Buyle, avait plaidé à titre principal l’incompétence du tribunal parce qu’il s’agissait, selon elle, d’un délit de presse. Du reste, les avocats ont estimé que leur client avait simplement usé de son droit à la liberté d’expression et que, de plus, les éléments constitutifs des infractions visées n’étaient pas réunis.

Peu avant cette citation directe, Alexis Deswaef avait déposé plainte contre le commissaire qui l’attaque, en raison du fait qu’il l’avait fait arrêter lors d’un rassemblement contre le racisme le 2 avril 2016 à Bruxelles.



https://vls.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Deswaef (VLAAMS)