Tag Archives: Council of Europe

Azerbaijan: Ongoing pre-trial detention of Mr. Elchin Sadigov

05/12/22

In a joint letter to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Lawyers for Lawyers and the International Observatory for Lawyers have expressed their concern about the pre-trial detention and house arrest of lawyer Elchin Sadigov.

On 10 September 2022, Mr. Sadigov was arrested together with the journalist Mr. Avaz Zeynalli and charged with “complicity in bribe taking”. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Sadigov represented Rasim Mammadov, a prominent businessman in Azerbaijan accused of embezzlement. Mr. Sadigov is suspected of being involved as an intermediary. Since Mr. Sadigov is currently under house arrest and could be sentenced to 12 years in jail, he is restricted in his ability to practice law.

Furthermore, we are concerned that Mr. Sadigov’s right on a fair trial is violated. On the day of his arrest, the Prosecutor’s General’s Office searched his home and office, where they confiscated documents and his mobile phone. International human rights law protects the confidentiality of lawyers-client communications as well as the privacy of attorneys’ records as an element of the right to a fair trial.

In the joint letter, we call upon the authorities of Azerbaijan to drop all charges against Mr. Sadigov unless credible evidence is presented in proceedings that respect fair trial guarantees and put an end to all acts of harassment against Elchin Sadigov, including at the judicial level.
We further urge that all lawyers in Azerbaijan must be able to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

[…]

https://apa.az/en/incident/azerbaijani-journalist-avaz-zeynalli-and-lawyear-elchin-sadigov-imprisoned-for-4-months-384473

(AZERBAIJANI)

Ukraine/Russia: CRIMEAN HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY IN WAKE OF ATTACKS

22/11/22

The Crimean Solidarity movement was set up by lawyers, journalists, and relatives of those arrested following the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.

The organization has persisted through many years of struggle, and still exists despite constant threats and attacks. Many in the movement are citizen journalists regularly targeted this year by Russian authorities in Crimea. Their homes are routinely raided, and they are often jailed.

Now, three lawyers who represent those targeted have themselves been attacked. The three – Lilia Hemedzhy, Rustem Kyamilev, and Nazim Sheikhmambetov – are advocates representing many of those in the estimated 200 cases brought against members of the Crimea Solidarity movement.

“They are under constant surveillance, and now the authorities have taken away their permission to practice as lawyers. It was done on a technicality,” Demir Minadirov of Crimea Solidarity told me when we met in Kyiv last week. In July the three were stripped of their lawyers’ licenses, effectively preventing them from representing their clients in court in criminal cases.

He says since 2017, pressure on the movement has intensified and around 50 members have been jailed, with many detained on the word of secret witnesses.

“We’re trying to make these cases as well-known as possible, to draw attention to what’s happening in Crimea. We’re asking for international solidarity from lawyers and lawyers’ associations. We want them to contact the authorities and say they know about what’s happened to Lilia Hemedzhy, Rustem Kyamilev, and Nazim Sheikhmambetov,” he said.

Human Rights First knows the power of international solidarity with human rights lawyers. HRF’s roots are in the legal human rights community, and we were founded in 1978 as the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights.

Since then, we’ve worked with human right lawyers all over the world. In the last decade we’ve supported and worked alongside human rights defenders who are lawyers in places including BahrainEgyptHong KongHungaryKenyaNorthern IrelandPolandSaudi ArabiaThe PhilippinesThe United Arab Emirates, and of course Ukraine.

Some of the lawyers whose work we’ve highlighted are in prison, others risk their lives to carry out their legal work in defense of the rights of others, and most are under some sort of harassment or pressure. We know from decades of experience that public solidarity with lawyers at risk in other parts of the world can be a powerful support.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/crimea-ukraine-human-rights-lawyers-disbarred

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/council-of-europe-will-continue-to-support-crimea-and-all-of-ukraine-says-secretary-general

https://unba.org.ua/news/7739-naau-podyakuvala-za-pidtrimku-evropejs-kim-kolegam-z-federacii-advokatur-evropi.html (UKRAINIAN)

https://censor.net/ua/news/3381466/naau_zabezpechyla_nezalejnist_ukrayinskoyi_advokatury_izovitova

https://unba.org.ua/news/7735-naau-z-10-richchyam-privitala-narodnij-deputat-ukraini-tetyana-skripka.html

https://www.unian.ua/society/za-10-rokiv-ukrajinska-advokatura-stala-standartom-dlya-yevropeyskih-advokatur-lidiya-izovitova-12049335.html

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