Tag Archives: Council of Europe

Turkey: Seven lawyers among 15 detained in Ankara over Gülen links

20/09/22

Prosecutors in the Turkish capital of Ankara issued detention warrants on Tuesday for 36 people in two separate investigations, leading to the detention of 15 including seven lawyers due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Bold Medya news website reported.

The detention warrants were issued based on the records of their phone conversations or on witness statements. Among those detained or facing detention are former police academy students and former public servants.

The suspects are accused of using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app considered by Turkey a secret tool of communication among supporters of the Gülen movement, and of having access to the questions on a State Personnel Examination (KPSS) held in 2013.

Following an abortive putsch in July 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

According to a statement from Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ in July, 117,208 people have been convicted, with 1,366 sentenced to life in prison and 1,634 to aggravated life with no chance of parole following the coup attempt. While 87,519 people have been acquitted of charges specifically related to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to Bozdağ, there are doubts about the number of people who have been acquitted of all charges by a court of law.

Judicial experts voice skepticism about the figures announced by the minister, saying that 117,208 convictions are only those that have been upheld by an appeals court, since Justice Ministry data show that more than 265,000 people were sentenced on charges of terrorist organization membership between 2016 and 2020 due to their alleged Gülen links.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/ankara/-/a-casebook-on-the-right-to-a-fair-trial-in-administrative-justice-has-been-published

Azerbaijan: “The arrest of Sadigov is another blow to the independent legal profession” – human rights activists

16/09/22

The Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners issued a statement condemning the arrest of human rights lawyer Elchin Sadigov.

“Azerbaijan is systematically removing from the legal profession  the lawyers specializing in the human rights sphere. In recent years, well-known lawyers who were not afraid to defend the rights of many political prisoners, and in particular Khalid Baghirov, Alaif Hasanov, Yalchin Imanov, Elchin Namazov, were expelled from the Bar for unreasonable reasons. Some, fearing reprisals, were forced to leave the country.

In the case of Elchin Sadigov, one of the last lawyers defending political prisoners, the authorities went even further and arrested him, which is undoubtedly related to his professional activities,” said Elshan Hasanov, head of the Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners.

Thus, the process of depriving citizens of high-quality legal protection is being consistently carried out in the country.

“People are actually deprived of the opportunity to receive legal assistance from a lawyer of their choice. Lawyers loyal to the leadership, controlled by the authorities of the Bar Association, are being imposed on citizens. There is no such radical pressure on lawyers even in “Putin’s Russia,” Hasanov continued.

The Center for Monitoring Political Prisoners demands the release of lawyer Elchin Sadigov from custody,  restoration of his powers, and demands to repressions against independent lawyers.

http://www.turan.az/ext/news/2022/9/free/Social/en/9435.htm/001

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2022/9/free/Social/en/9456.htm/001

https://www.mediadefence.org/news/statement-elchin-sadykov/

https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/view/-/asset_publisher/ugj3i6qSEkhZ/content/azerbaijan-s-authorities-should-immediately-release-human-right-lawyer-elchin-sadykov-and-journalist-avaz-zeynalli-and-stop-intimidating-and-harassing

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2022/9/free/politics_news/en/9252.htm

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/azerbaijan-arbitrary-detention-and-criminalisation-of-elchin-sadigov

https://www.voanews.com/a/azerbaijan-detains-a-journalist-and-his-lawyer/6746340.html

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16762-azerbaijan-arrests-lawyer-who-defends-political-opponents

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2022/-/free/Chetin_sual/en/9262.htm/001

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2022/9/free/politics_news/az/9252.htm/001 (AZERBAIJANI)

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/commissioner/view/-/asset_publisher/ugj3i6qSEkhZ/content/azerbaijan-s-authorities-should-immediately-release-human-right-lawyer-elchin-sadykov-and-journalist-avaz-zeynalli-and-stop-intimidating-and-harassing (FRANCAIS)

European Lawyers’ Day 2022 is on 25 October

14/09/22

European Lawyers’ Day (ELD) 2022 takes place on 25 October, as part of the European Day of Justice.

It celebrates the common values of lawyers, and their intrinsic role in the defence and promotion of the rule of law, as well as their contribution to the justice system.

Run by the CCBE since 2014, the goal of ELD is to promote the rule of law, and the lawyer’s role in upholding legal principles for citizens.

Law in times of war

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February, the theme selected this year is ‘Making the law prevail in times of war – the role of lawyers’.

Lawyers play an important role in the context of war by assisting people fleeing conflict and in search of haven, the CCBE says.

European Lawyers’ Day amplifies the various initiatives taken by Bars and Law Societies, as well as lawyers and law firms, in reaction to humanitarian crises resulting from conflicts.

ELD also recognises how lawyers safeguard individual human rights, and how they represent victims of war in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Information on events to mark the day will be available on the CCBE website.

The chair of the CCBE Criminal Law Committee Ondrej Laciak has also written an article entitled ‘Lawyers upholding justice in times of war’, to mark this year’s event.

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/september/european-lawyers-day-2022-takes-place-on-25-october

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cepej/events/european-day-of-justice

Council of Europe: Protection of lawyers : progress made for the elaboration of a draft convention

26/07/22

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers (CJ-AV) held its second meeting in Strasbourg from 11 to 13 July 2022, in which representatives of the Member States and relevant international professional organisations participated.

The CJ-AV Committee continued its work on a future legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the legal profession and the right to practice the profession without prejudice or coercion. It examined the first draft legal instrument and its provisions, and discussed at length all the issues to be covered in order to develop a robust instrument, providing strong and effective protection to lawyers in the exercise of their profession.

The CJ-AV held a fruitful exchange of views with the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr García-Sayán, who spoke about the importance of the preparation of the new legal instrument at the backdrop of a global increase in practices that undermine, limit, restrict and hinder the work of lawyers, particularly of those whose activities are focused on the fight against corruption, the defense of human rights or the protection of vulnerable groups. The Special Rapporteur expressed his full support to the work of the CJ-AV and draw the committee’s attention to the possible global impact that such a convention would have beyond Europe, underlining the possibility and desirability of offering a stronger protection to lawyers worldwide.

[…]

https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/tmYzZ9iB8dRW/content/protection-of-lawyers-progress-made-for-the-elaboration-of-a-draft-convention-by-the-council-of-euro-1

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/cj-av

https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/basic-principles-role-lawyers

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/tmYzZ9iB8dRW/content/protection-of-lawyers-progress-made-for-the-elaboration-of-a-draft-convention-by-the-council-of-euro-1 (FRANCAIS)

Turkey/European Court of Human Rights: TAKE ACTION AND JOIN OUR DEMONSTRATION TODAY!

16/06/22

Take Action!

Demonstration

“Where is the European Court of Human Rights when it is needed most?!”

24th June 2022 10:30am

Join us to stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands, who have been silenced by the Erdogan Regime  and remind the the European Court of Human Rights of its duties by raising your voice in front of the ECHR and ask these Questions.

24th of June 2022

Strasbourg/ France

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) turns a blind eye to the gross State Crimes committed by the Erdoğan regime in Turkey and idly watches as it chokes on the victims on a daily basis.

The Court has had several opportunities to establish the facts regarding these violations in Turkey and compel the regime to respect the basic tenets of European Convention of Human Rights. However, it failed in the execution of its duties and rendered incompetent especially regarding the systemic violations of the rights of Hizmet Movement affiliates. As the victims amount up to hundreds of thousands the violations constitute clear crimes against humanity.

In recognition of that, we, a broad variety of people from all over Europe, will stand in solidarity with the victims and remind the ECHR that fundamental rights belong to every human being regardless of their identity!

https://www.europeanlawinstitute.eu/projects-publications/completed-projects-old/case-overload/

https://academic.oup.com/jhrp/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jhuman/huac019/6590084

https://www.routledge.com/Court-Delay-and-Human-Rights-Remedies-Enforcing-the-Right-to-a-Fair-Hearing/Savvidis/p/book/9781138606548

https://echr.coe.int/Pages/home.aspx?p=home

https://balkaninsight.com/2022/06/23/council-of-europe-rates-turkeys-progress-on-reforms-unsatisfactory/

U.S. law schools are funding degrees for Ukrainian lawyers

15/06/22

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law is working to bring a half dozen Ukrainian lawyers to the United States to spend a year studying and doing pro bono work related to their home country.

The initiative is part of the school’s Ukrainian Legal Assistance Project, which aims to apply human rights law and other legal remedies to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The university committed to paying the Ukrainian LL.M. students’ tuition and covering their travel and living expenses as needed.

“Three days after the war started, we said, ‘We have to do something.’ And this is what we came up with,” said Charles Kotuby, head of the law school’s Center for International Legal Education, which is spearheading the project.

Pittsburgh is not the only U.S. law school hosting Ukrainian lawyers next year, though its program may be the largest. The University of Miami School of Law and the University of Florida Levin College of Law have created scholarships for a Ukrainian law graduate to attend their LL.M programs. LL.Ms are year-long masters programs in U.S. law for people with law degrees from other countries.

Pittsburgh spread word to potential candidates on social media through its network of about 30 Ukrainian alumni, and through Kotuby’s network of contacts at law firms in Kiev. Kotuby recently joined the law school after 20 years in law firm Jones Day’s global disputes practice.

[…]

https://www.reuters.com/legal/legalindustry/us-law-schools-are-funding-degrees-ukrainian-lawyers-2022-06-15/

https://www.law.miami.edu/news/2022/may/ukrainian-student-miami-law-her-own-words

Click to access International%20Charitable%20Assistance%20for%20UNBA.pdf

https://www.coe.int/en/web/help/all-news/-/asset_publisher/nkS1iPUkreIb/content/ukraine-human-rights-education-for-legal-professionals-and-university-students

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/international-rule-of-law/news/how-lawyers-can-show-support-for-people-in-ukraine

https://www.wesa.fm/education/2022-06-08/pitt-to-help-ukrainian-lawyers-bring-the-war-against-russia-into-the-courtroom

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/news/general/pro-bono-ontario-launches-refugee-legal-relief-initiative-for-ukrainians-seeking-refuge-in-canada/367423

https://www.lawsociety.ie/Solicitors/Representation/ukraine-crisis

Council of Europe: Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers (CJ-AV)

The profession of lawyer plays a central role in the administration of justice, the defense of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Nowadays, lawyers, both individually and institutionally, are increasingly the target of attacks of all kinds which put in difficulty, even in danger, the independent and secure exercise of their profession.

In 2020, the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) has looked into possible actions to ensure an adequate level of protection to lawyers when exercising their profession. It considered the feasibility of a new European legal instrument, taking into account possible alternatives through which the protection for lawyers could be enhanced, considering the existing international instruments, notably the Committee of Ministers Recommendation R(2000)21 on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

On the basis of this study, the Committee of Ministers established as of January 2022 a Committee of experts on the protection of lawyers (CJ-AV). The CJ-AV consists of 15 representatives of member States, as well as participants and observers as set out in the adopted Terms of reference. The Committee is tasked with the elaboration of a legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practice the profession without prejudice or restraint, under the authority of the Committee of Ministers and of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ).

The CJ-AV meets 3 times a year, in closed session. Access to information about specific meetings and documents of the CJ-AV is available below, or depending on their classification, can be consulted in line with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

[…]

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/cj-av

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/profession-of-lawyer

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/cdcj/cj-av (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/convention-europeenne-sur-la-profession-davocat/

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/cdcj/profession-of-lawyer

CCBE plea for legal means to protect profession

20/12/21

CCBE plea for legal instrument to protect profession

The CCBE has said that that attacks against the legal profession now take place in countries where a certain level of respect for the rule of law exists, including EU or Council of Europe member states.

In its end-of-year newsletter, body has reiterated its support Council of Europe work for the establishment of a new legal instrument on the profession of lawyer.

The CCBE has welcomed the recent decision of the Council of Europe to set up a new committee on the protection of lawyers to draft the new legal instrument.

Binding

The organisation believes that there is a clear need for adopting a new binding legal instrument on the profession of lawyer “accompanied by an implementation mechanism in order to guarantee the proper administration of justice and the respect of the rule of law”.

The goal of the legal instrument will be to strengthen the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practise the profession without prejudice or restraint.

The CCBE believes that none of the existing non-binding instruments cover comprehensively all the issues such as:

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2021/12-december/ccbe-plea-for-legal-instrument-to-protect-profession

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://rm.coe.int/eng-examen-de-faisabilite-d-un-instrument-juridque-europeen-couv-texte/1680a22790

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/convention-europeenne-sur-la-profession-davocat/ (FRANCAIS)

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European #Lawyers Day 2021: The Council of Europe attaches particular i

In Belarus, Lukashenka’s Government Targets Lawyers And The Legal Profession As A Whole

12/11/21

"Behind every tyrant in history have stood lawyers, prosecutors, and judges who justified his rule and punished his opponents for their supposed crimes," said lawyer Maksim Znak in accepting the International Bar Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights.

At the beginning of the month, new government-sponsored amendments to the Belarusian Law on the Bar and Legal Advocacy came into effect that have been widely criticized as intended to impose government control over the legal profession and undermine its independence.

The new legislation comes in the wake of a massive crackdown on lawyers individually in which about three dozen defense attorneys — many defending prominent opposition figures and anti-government activists — have been deprived of their law licenses.

“Lawyers are people who defend citizens from the authorities,” Dzmitry Layeuski, a prominent defense attorney who was stripped of his license in July, told RFE/RL’s Belarus Service. “Now lawyers themselves need defense. But what we see is indifference from the public.”

On October 25, lawyer Natallya Matskevich, whose clients included jailed would-be presidential candidates Viktar Babaryka and Syarhey Tsikhanouski, was expelled from the Belarusian Collegium of Lawyers, the country’s bar association, for unspecified alleged wrongdoing. She was at least the fifth attorney working to defend Babaryka to lose her license.

The government’s targeting of lawyers is part of a massive crackdown on dissent following the disputed August 2020 presidential election that handed a sixth term to strongman leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Thousands of people have been arrested, and most top opposition figures have either been jailed or pushed out of the country.

The European Union, the United States, Canada, and other countries have refused to recognize Lukashenka as Belarus’s legitimate leader and have imposed sanctions on him and several senior Belarusian officials in response to the “falsification” of the vote and the postelection crackdown.

However, Minsk’s latest moves include changing the rules of legal accreditation to undermine the already-compromised independence of the Belarusian bar association, with potential long-term effects for the entire country.

Attacking The Defenders?

“The crackdown on lawyers who dare to do their job and assist all those who are arbitrarily detained or otherwise harassed by the Belarusian government is a sign of a severe deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus, a deterioration that will shape [Lukashenka’s] sixth term in office and beyond,” wrote international rights activist Ewelina Ochab in a column for Forbes in August.

The new amendments to the Law on the Bar and Legal Advocacy were passed in May and took effect on November 1. They restrict which lawyers and law firms are able to take on the defense of clients facing criminal or administrative charges.

All lawyers applying for licenses must be approved in advance by the Justice Ministry and the amended law empowers the ministry to develop and enforce a code of professional ethics for lawyers. It creates a Qualification Commission, under the control of the Justice Ministry. The Justice Ministry now controls the “election” of heads of regional bar associations and has the power to dismiss them. The ministry also has the power to demand any documents from bar associations or individual lawyers.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-liquidated-legal-profession/31558941.html

https://pace.coe.int/en/news/8488/pace-president-condemns-recent-reprisals-against-civil-society-and-human-rights-defenders-in-belarus

https://www.ibanet.org/Belarus-Lawyers-Ludmila-Kazak-and-Maksim-Znak-win-the-2021-IBA-Human-Rights-Award

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

Memorandum of understanding between the Council of Europe and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe

18/06/21

Margarete Gräfin von Galen, President of the CCBE; Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) signed a memorandum of understanding in Strasbourg today with a view to stepping up cooperation between the two bodies and making the Organisation’s activities more visible to Europe’s lawyers.

Lawyers play a key role in the equal administration of justice and the protection of the rights of individuals. In this context, they contribute to ensuring the public’s confidence in the action of tribunals, whose mission is fundamental for democracy and the rule of law. The European Convention on Human Rights protects and guarantees in this respect a number of essential rights which are related to the specific status of lawyers in the administration of justice.

The Council of Europe has long been committed to protecting this profession. The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) recently prepared a feasibility study for a new European legal instrument for protecting the profession of lawyer.

The Council of Europe has longstanding links with bar associations, especially the CCBE (representing over a million lawyers in 45 countries) which makes substantial contributions to the work of the Organisation and cooperates with several organs, in particular the European Court of Human Rights.

[…]

https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-council-of-europe-and-the-council-of-bars-and-law-societies-of-europe

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-council-of-europe-and-the-council-of-bars-and-law-societies-of-europe (FRANCAIS)