Tag Archives: France

Interview: After Fleeing the Taliban, a Women’s Rights Defender Mourns the Loss of Afghanistan, Urges Action to Save the Country’s Lawyers

12/05/22

Before the United States withdrew its forces from Afghanistan last August, Najla Raheel was a busy lawyer specializing in assisting victims of domestic violence. She dedicated her free time to serving on legislative committees to strengthen protections for women’s rights. She also served in the upper echelons of the country’s nascent independent bar association. But when Washington pulled out and the Taliban swept in, everything changed.

As the Taliban claimed Kabul, it freed thousands of prisoners — including many of the men Raheel had helped put behind bars for spousal abuse. Fearful of revenge, and stifled by the new regime’s rapid imposition of policies aimed curbing the rights of women, Raheel knew she had to leave. After weeks of hiding in Kabul, she faced a harrowing journey to escape the immediate threats that surrounded her, and after months of legal limbo, has arrived in Canada, where she hopes to start a new life.

JURIST Features Editor Ingrid Burke Friedman spoke with Raheel about her professional life before the Taliban’s rise, the obstacles she faced in fleeing her country and establishing a new home, and her hopes for the beleaguered attorneys of Afghanistan.

[…]

Do you have faith that the legal profession in Afghanistan will regain its independence?

The Taliban seized control of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association shortly after they took Kabul, so by now the organization has been fully merged into their Justice Ministry. Because of that, I can’t say I have any optimism at all, though I do hold out hope for an independent profession in the future. But for that hope to ever translate into action, we will need the support of other bar associations around the globe. Without strong external support, I’m afraid there’s little room for wishful thinking.

What would you ask of lawyers around the world with respect to supporting the work and safety of those attorneys who were forced to flee Afghanistan, as well as those who stayed but now live in persecution?

I call on the lawyers of the world not to forget their counterparts in and of Afghanistan. We desperately need your support. In particular, I would make the following requests:

First: Advocates inside Afghanistan are under threat and their lives are in imminent danger. Help them leave Afghanistan.

Second: Those attorneys that have made it out of Afghanistan are often left to fester in refugee camps for far too long, which poses a threat to anyone’s mental health. Help them get out of these refugee camps and into destination countries.

Finally: Those attorneys who have made it past all of these obstacles and have arrived in destination countries so often find themselves unemployed, and thus unable to provide for themselves and their families. And ultimately, these attorneys who have devoted their professional lives to defending the rights of others find themselves silenced. Help them find work. In fact, help them find work helping Afghan refugees in order to alleviate this whole dark cycle.

https://www.jurist.org/features/2022/05/12/interview-after-fleeing-the-taliban-a-womens-rights-defender-mourns-the-loss-of-afghanistan-urges-action-to-save-the-countrys-lawyers/

https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/daphne-bramham-lives-of-afghans-who-worked-for-canada-in-heightened-danger

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/05/afghanistan-dispatch-taliban-issue-severe-hijab-decree-for-afghan-women-2/

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/nouvelle-aquitaine/gironde/bordeaux/temoignage-une-avocate-fuit-le-regime-des-talibans-en-afghanistan-et-se-refugie-en-gironde-2540184.html (FRANCAIS)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine: what the international legal community can do to help

21/04/22

The webinar titled ‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine: How can the legal profession provide support to Ukraine?’ took place on 6 April 2022 and was expertly moderated by Joanna Weller of LexisNexis, who is also the Co-Chair of the IBA Rule of Law Forum.

The IBA Law Firm Management Committee spearheaded the creation of this webinar as part two of the Russian invasion of Ukraine series and the recording is available here. Part one can be viewed here.

Wayne Jordash QC, Managing Partner at Global Rights Compliance, said that in the future, there will be a need for people who can provide on-the-ground support. ‘People who know their way around the battlefield and search for the ugly truth whenever possible will be needed.’ It will be essential for them to study the local laws. He warned audience members not to go at this alone, but to coordinate with local agencies. ‘You don’t want multiple people interviewing multiple witnesses,’ said Jordash. He stressed that this was not a short-term project and that the international community will need to focus on this for the long term.

‘Even in war, international law has its own rules, but not for Russia. They have even managed to create new kinds of crimes,’ said Anna Ogrenchuk, President of the Ukrainian Bar Association, based in Kyiv. She pointed out, ‘this is one of the challenges we as international lawyers have to face.’ Ogrenchuk remarked how grateful her group was for the support of the various bar associations and lawyers worldwide. However, she pointed out the difficulty and intricacies that will still need to be sorted out from a legal standpoint.

Wendy Betts is Director of eyeWitness to Atrocities, an initiative of the IBA. The organisation works with human rights defenders worldwide and has been working in Ukraine since 2017. Their efforts have been made possible through advances in technology, particularly cell phone usage, to record crimes and related volatile situations. As footage and metadata of this type needs to be verified in order to be used for legal purposes, they have developed an app that helps create footage that cannot be edited or deleted, keeping the integrity of the data and saving it in a closed system. The validity is closely maintained through a chain of custody backed by technology donated by LexisNexis.

Jörg Menzer of Noerr leads the firm’s Bucharest office and is Chair of the IBA Section on Public and Professional Interest (SPPI). He asked the group specifically what could be done by private practice lawyers and what they should consider as the next steps.

[…]

https://www.ibanet.org/ukraine-webinar-report-lfmc

https://www.lawsociety.ie/News/News/Stories/law-society-professional-training-supports-ukraine-colleagues?fbclid=IwAR0KSMFaT1ljOOg6ZQkTtrMMlEYYLbjt693uQwKulqPnUmBz88Ge-_WKBR0

https://ccbe.eu/actions/events/

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/ukraine/

Ukraine

https://news.siu.edu/2022/05/050322-SIU-School-of-Law-commencement-ceremony-is-May-6.php

https://fr.zone-secure.net/109394/1553047/?fbclid=IwAR1oWhsLx8eH0i-_wa69MOkDv_KPk55RBVZgl8Ci0KNBDjBiZ_heHyc4i8c#page=3 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/evenements/

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/covid-19/

https://www.droit-inc.com/article38331-Quebec-apporte-son-soutien-a-Avocats-sans-frontieres

Switzerland: Prison et expulsion pour le détenu complotiste qui menaçait son avocat  

07/05/22

Condamné à 30 mois de prison, un voleur a attribué sa peine à son avocat, qu’il soupçonnait de collusion avec la procureure. Il lui a envoyé une lettre de menaces et d’insultes.

Cambrioleur multirécidiviste attiré surtout par les ordinateurs, les portables et les bijoux, Omar* a sévi dans plusieurs localités vaudoises, notamment à Lausanne, entre 2019 et 2020. L’année passée, cet Arabe avec un faux passeport français et sans permis de séjour en Suisse a été condamné par le Tribunal de Lausanne à 40 mois de prison pour vol en bande et par métier, dommages à la propriété, contrainte, violation de domicile, tentative de violation de domicile… 

«Je fait avec toi grand probleme fills de p…»

Omar* n’a pas digéré cette peine qu’il trouvait trop lourde. Et il en voulait particulièrement à son avocat, qu’il croyait de mèche avec la procureure qui instruisait l’affaire. C’est donc depuis sa cellule de prison à Orbe qu’il a rédigé un courrier pour l’avocat dont il ne voulait plus. Décidé à trouver un nouveau défenseur, il l’a abreuvé d’insultes et l’a menacé avec virulence. «Monsieur, malgré tout mes refus qui tu a mon avocat et tu veut pas lâche mon dossier tu veut violé mes droits (…) je manquer avec toi le respect ta à un fills de pute et tu a un batar qui j’ai jamais vue dans ma vie je prle avec toi vulgair et je men fou la conséquence (…) je niqué ta race conard fills de pute sa fait sept mois tu colaborer avec la procureure et tu veut encore discuté avec moi je te jure si tu a pas lâché mon dossier je fait avec toi grand probleme fills de pute.» 

Des menaces qui ont produit un effet

L’avocat a fini par se retourner contre son propre client en déposant une plainte pénale. Condamné en première instance, Omar a saisi le Tribunal cantonal. La Cour cantonale a revu à la baisse la condamnation pour vol par métier. Car la participation d’Omar n’a pas pu être prouvée dans un cas de vol. La peine de 40 mois du tribunal de première instance a été réduite à 30 mois. Mais le Tribunal est d’avis que le courrier envoyé à l’avocat était «à l’évidence une menace sérieuse». Selon la Cour, les menaces d’Omar ont eu un effet, puisque l’avocat a demandé à être relevé de son mandat de défenseur d’office. Ce qui constitue une preuve de la contrainte exercée par le détenu.

[…]

https://www.20min.ch/fr/story/prison-et-expulsion-pour-le-detenu-complotiste-qui-menacait-son-avocat-936039344065

Statement of the New York City Bar Association re: the Taliban Takeover of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association

06/05/22

The New York City Bar Association[1] joins the international community in condemning in the strongest possible terms the Taliban’s recent takeover of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association and related ongoing developments.[2]

The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (“AIBA”) was established in 2008 under Afghanistan’s Advocates Law as a statutory body to oversee the licensing and regulation of lawyers independent of the executive branch, to promote professional excellence and equal opportunity in the legal profession, and to champion the rule of law and social justice.[3] The AIBA’s by-laws are among the most progressive of any bar association in the world. For example, the AIBA is believed to be the only bar association worldwide to have self-imposed gender quotas for bar leadership, including a quota for women on all executive committees, as well as a requirement of at least one woman vice-president.[4] Similarly, the AIBA by-laws require all AIBA members to take on at least three pro bono cases a year.[5] From its inception, the AIBA has been independent, non-governmental, and non-political.[6]

In the wake of Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban in mid-August 2021, the AIBA had been viewed as the country’s sole remaining bulwark of fundamental human rights, due process, judicial independence, the rule of law, and democratic values.[7]

However, on November 22, 2021, the Taliban Ministry of Justice published a decree stripping the AIBA of its independence, including its authority to license lawyers, and merging it into the Ministry.[8] The same decree states that only Taliban-approved lawyers will be permitted to appear in the courts and declares that lawyers must be “honest and loyal to the Islamic Emirate” (the Taliban), must have not worked with the prior government (i.e., the internationally-recognized government), and must have taken part in the “jihad” of the past 20 years – criteria that, in effect, would appear to exclude all non-Taliban figures.[9]

On November 23, 2021, the day after the decree issued, an estimated 50 armed Taliban stormed the AIBA’s offices in Kabul, threatening the lawyers and staff with violence before ordering them off the premises[10] and installing a new president who has ties to the Taliban Ministry of Justice but no relevant experience.[11] Days later, on December 5, 2021, armed Taliban raided an AIBA news conference planned to protest the Taliban takeover and to highlight the importance of the AIBA’s independence, forcing AIBA members to flee for their lives.[12] The situation has continued to deteriorate since then.[13]

Particularly alarming is the fact that, as a result of its takeover of the AIBA, the Taliban now have access to the AIBA’s database of the personal and professional records of more than 2500 lawyers and judicial system employees.[14] These records include detailed, highly-sensitive information on matters such as individuals’ home addresses, family members, and client files – leaving lawyers, prosecutors, and judges (particularly women) even more exposed to the very real possibility of reprisals at the hands of convicted prisoners who were freed by the Taliban and at the hands of the Taliban itself.[15] The Taliban have similarly seized control of the AIBA’s bank accounts and funds.[16]

More recently, the Taliban Ministry of Justice has announced that Afghan lawyers will be required to re-certify under a new qualification process established by the Ministry.[17] Male lawyers who have applied to renew their licenses under the new process report that they have been required to take an oral examination in which the questions are drawn from religious subjects and have nothing to do with the law.[18] To date, the Taliban have failed to issue even a single law license to any woman lawyer.[19]  Although, like their male colleagues, women lawyers have applied to renew their licenses, their requests are not being processed and they have been told to wait until a decision is made as to whether they will be permitted to continue to practice.[20]

[…]

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/taliban-takeover-of-the-afghanistan-independent-bar-association

https://www.ibanet.org/IBA-appeals-to-UN-for-support-on-Taliban-take-over-of-AIBA

https://www.helloasso.com/associations/fonds-de-dotation-du-conseil-national-des-barreaux/formulaires/2 (FRANCAIS)

https://eye.newsletter.cnb.avocat.fr/m2?r=wAXNA6-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

Ukraine: Meet the Dead Lawyers Society

20/04/22

Today we are moved to present a brand-new startup that is carrying out an amazing labour of recognition and visibility for the war against Russia. The initiative is a reference to the movie Dead Poets Society, conformed by over 8,000 Ukrainian lawyers that is constantly spreading and fighting nonstop for their values. 

For the past 5 years that have been mostly peaceful, they spent the time writing on media, hosting events and building a new platform for legal discussion concerning the insights of the legal business inside and outside Ukraine. However, after the invasion many lawyers decided to stop their legal practice to join the armed forces or help the army in any other way. 

Of course, since the members of the Dead Lawyers Society just became soldiers some weeks ago, they are not well equipped for the war and that is why they are raising donations (click the link in case you want to help donating). This way the society is providing drones, thermal imagers, medicines, cloths, flashlights, sleeping bags, etc. No weapons as those require licensing, but they can guarantee clear and transparent reports. Furthermore, Dima Gadomsky is managing the project, he is partner at Axon Partners, Aspen Institute fellow and Ambassador for Ukraine of the European Legaltech Association. 

The collective defends the following values: 

FREEDOM, and what it invokes in the forms of objectivity, independence, impartiality and self-regulation; 

IMPACT, in the senses of recognition and acceptance by the legal community, as well as at the level of authority, searching for determination of the criteria for market evaluation; 

COMMUNITY, where members are able to change, support, share and inspire others that are like-minded and provide a safe environment; 

DEVELOPMENT, to accelerate and encourage real change in the legal sphere and to determine the criteria for these changes; 

QUALITY, the content is meant to be exciting and expressive, promises integrity and emphasis on the higher standards of journalism and transparency.

Before the russian invasion, their day-to-day activities were financed by the community itself and by the following top-tier law firms: Vasil Kisil and Partners, Integrites, Asters, Axon Partners, Moris, and Engarde. They continue the donations, but they only cover the salaries of the newsroom. So now they require extra donations or, if not possible, you can also help this project by sharing information in social media, aiding lawyers evacuated from Ukraine to find a temporary job in law firms or other companies, Outsource some paid legal work to any Ukrainian law firm you know, or commit to giving a loan to the Ukrainian law firm you know well if it will require financial aid to save the team.

[…]

https://theimpactlawyers.com/news/meet-the-dead-lawyers-society#.YmQ_Esa5gnI.twitter

https://www.linkedin.com/company/dead-lawyers-society/

https://abovethelaw.com/2022/03/ukrainian-supreme-court-judge-earns-fierce-nickname-after-leaving-bench-for-battle-against-russia/

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/ukraine-supreme-court-judge-joins-defence-forces-on-front-line/5111767.article

(UKRAINIAN)

https://www.facebook.com/DeadLawyers

https://www.leprogres.fr/defense-guerre-conflit/2022/04/23/comment-les-avocats-peuvent-ils-se-mobiliser-pour-l-ukraine (FRANCAIS)

CCBE: Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice

11/04/22

Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice at the occasion of the CCBE Brussels Standing Committee on 1 April 2022 – Discours de Didier Reynders, commissaire européen à la justice, à l’occasion du comité permanent du CCBE à Bruxelles le 1er avril 2022

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/can-the-council-of-europe-help-us-with-our-problems/5112171.article

https://www.ccbe.eu/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders_en

https://www.lja.fr/l-oeil-sur/la-convention-europeenne-pour-les-avocats-sprint-final-694154.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders_fr

Lawyers Day in Syria: Khalil Ma’touq and Razan Zaitouneh remain missing

22/04/22

Today is Lawyers Day in Syria, a day that is celebrated by lawyers from Syria. On this day, we would like to highlight the cases of disappeared lawyers Khalil Ma’touq and Razan Zaitouneh from Syria.

Khalil Ma’touq

Khalil Ma’touq, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, is a human rights lawyer who has been defending peaceful activists for more than 20 years. He and his colleague and assistant Mohammed Zaza have been missing since October 2, 2012, when they were en route from Ma’touq’s home in Sahanaya, a Damascus suburb, to his office in Damascus. It is believed that they were arrested at a government security checkpoint. The exact reasons for the arrest are unknown, but there is reason to believe their arrest is connected to their legitimate and peaceful work in human rights.

Despite repeated requests by their families and lawyers for information about their fate, their whereabouts are still unknown. The Syrian authorities have denied that they arrested the men. However, individuals released from the government’s custody in 2015 have informed Ma’touq’s family that while in detention they spotted him in various government-operated detention facilities.

Razan Zaitouneh

As a prominent human rights lawyer, activist, and journalist, Razan Zaitouneh has dedicated her life to defending political prisoners, documenting crimes against humanity, and helping others free themselves from oppression. Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, Razan Zaitouneh has played a key role in efforts to defend human rights for all and protect independent groups and activists in Syria. She is co-founder of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria and the Violations Documentation Center, which documents human rights violations in Syria.

Together with her husband and two colleagues, Razan Zaitouneh disappeared on 9 December 2013 in Douma, after a group of armed men stormed the office of the Violations Documentation Center. Since then, no one has heard from them.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-opposition-spokesperson-can-face-war-crimes-french-court-says

https://scm.bz/en/scm-statements/intwomen22

https://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/syria-landmark-ruling-offers-hope-regime-s-victims

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

https://information.tv5monde.com/info/syrie-razan-zaitouneh-toujours-disparue-4774 (FRANCAIS)

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

11/04/22

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://en.unba.org.ua/activity/news/7375-lidiya-izovitova-took-part-in-an-online-meeting-of-the-ccbe-standing-committee-in-brussels.html

Home

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

https://unba.org.ua/news/7379-valentin-gvozdij-vzyav-uchast-u-diskusii-vtorgnennya-v-ukrainu-zagroza-revizionizmu-ta-porushennya-mizhnarodnogo-prava.html

https://unba.org.ua/news/7378-opikuns-ka-rada-nadala-material-nu-dopomogu-rodinam-dvoh-zagiblih-advokativ.html

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

https://www.avocatparis.org/Solidarite-Ukraine

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

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

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

Iran: Rights lawyers on trial for lawsuit against Supreme Leader over vaccine ban

16/04/22

The trial of five activists who had filed a lawsuit against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for “Covid mismanagement” was held behind closed doors Saturday.

The group of five, who were put on trial at Branch 29 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, has come to be called ‘Defenders of Right to Health’ by the media. They are: Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi, Mohammadreza Faghihi and Maryam Fara-Afraz

Khamenei ruled out importing United States- and British-made Covid-19 vaccines in January 2021, arguing that the US and Uk cannot be trusted. At the time, the US-German Pfizer, US-made Moderna and the British-made AstraZeneca were the only vaccines approved internationally and available in early 2021.

The group’s litigation apparently sought to establish that decisions by Khamenei, former President Hassan Rouhani, and others led to thousands of unnecessary deaths when a severe wave of infections hit Iran from June to August 2021.

The members of the group were arrested on August 15 last year while holding a meeting to prepare legal action against authorities for mismanagement of the pandemic and delay in in mass vaccination. All, except Mahmoudain, were released after spending more than a month in solitary confinement.

In an unexpected move in early March, Iran’s Judiciary accepted to register the group’s lawsuit against the authorities, including Khamenei.

While Khamenei banned the Western vaccines, hundreds of millions of dollars were distributed among government-run companies with no experience in vaccine development to produce a homegrown variant.

The five activists have been charged with “acting against national security”, an often-used vague charge often brought against dissidents and critics of the Islamic Republic. They are accused of forming a “hostile group aiming to harm the country’s security and make propaganda against the state”.

[…]

https://www.iranintl.com/en/202204166133

https://iranwire.com/en/iran/71381

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-defender-arash-keykhosravi-released-bail

https://www.iranintl.com/en/202203010894

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/arash-keykhosravi

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/13/iran-no-end-mounting-repression

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/12/09/joint-statement-free-arbitrarily-detained-right-health-defenders-iran

(FARSI)

https://www.hra-news.org/2021/hranews/a-32915/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/case/human-rights-defender-arash-keykhosravi-released-bail (FRANCAIS)

Webinar Lawyers Assist Ukraine, 20 April 9:30am CET

https://redon.maville.com/actu/actudet_-saint-malo.-les-gens-de-justice-expriment-leur-solidarite-envers-le-peuple-ukrainien-_dep-5176474_actu.Htm (FRANCAIS)