Today, before the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ called on Ukrainian authorities to ensure the security of lawyers and the independence of the judiciary, essential elements to make effective any human rights technical assistance and capacity building.
The statement reads as follows:
In Ukraine, a number of lawyers, including those who defend human rights, in and outside of courts, including to face threats, harassment, and other attacks on their security.
Lawyers continue to be associated with their clients and may face detrimental consequences for representing them.
For example, in November 2020, lawyer Nikolay Osipchuk was physically attacked by the local Prosecutor and several other people in the court room of a district court. A pattern of such attacks was identified by the ICJ in a report issued last year.
The ICJ is further concerned at recent the attempts of interference by the Government with the independence of the judiciary in Ukraine.
The ICJ welcomes the withdrawal of the presidential draft law by which all judges of the Constitutional Court would have been dismissed. However, it is concerning that, following a criminal case initiated against him, the President of the Constitutional Court was suspended by a decision of the President of Ukraine. This decision, on dubious legal grounds, undermines the independence of the judiciary.
The ICJ urges that Ukraine:
- Ensure prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations of all attacks on lawyers, leading where appropriate, to bringing those responsible to justice;