Tag Archives: IBA

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

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=wAXNA6-4NWM4MjdhODNiOTVjZWUxYTFiYmJkODdmxBAC0IsXfNCv0K9BetCTcXnQkOJ30JnQxbg2MGU1OGE4NjU1ZTI5MjFjMWY4MWM5YmS2YS52aWF0dXNAY25iLmF2b2NhdC5mcqDcAB62QVNYM3FSaldUTC1Zb0ZpT01MNkVrUaCzRU1BSUxfQ09SUkVDVElPTl9JRKC0azhsN3lubjI0ZDFua3ViNTdobzKgtkEyTUVNUWhVVC1hOUI4a2lzVktqRmegtng1aUxsVy1DVHphTHgzNWwtMWFXYlGgrk9SSUdJTl9LSU5EX0lEpExJU1S2NW0wMmI4bHh6Y2FkdGIwcGtpZ2JjbKCxT1JJR0lOX0NBUFRJT05fSUSwU2FsYXJpw6lzIGR1IENOQrYyZGRzcmc0NVJidWt2RG9jZ0NHcFlnoLYzSldhWkpJNVFaLUl2aHBXeXBSeDV3oKhTVEFURV9JRKZOT1JNQUy2OTd1Vk41TkdSLTJvOUxtU2c5UDBMZ6C2RFZ0Nk5ieXFSY0NXckJLTlNHdVNhd6C2SW9JRkxrMmRTbDJOTW5IVVJQbjFYUaCzUEhPTkVfQ09SUkVDVElPTl9JRKC2cE9YS3Q1VGVST0djSTdCZDFjMWhoQaC2c1YwZmp1bTVReTYzd0Etc3BWTWlSd6C2LXdDRlRzVnRSM0czRTdMdDdEcHZxZ6C2SWcyR2ZPcHZUWHVtTHRzQ0ZpbC1YZ6C0NHhuaW0wZmJ4a24zMXVvamV6cnKgtnMzaDNyaVVrUmplT05rSEplSnM0aWegtl9wMHdIQmp3UWlTSnpPaTJka2hFdEGgtlM1QjR2NmRfVEVpUWo5Mk9qUUNQQkGgtld0Y1hva0ViUmpLaTBTSmdaNEpoSkGgtmhGWS0xaFhyUzBDOFFLYWVHS293dHegtnhSeVJzOEJiUUNtUzllUy00QmV5MFGgtlJQWUM3WGZPUmFxVG1HUVV1NkN4Y0Ggtl9zX3o4TGtFVFh1b2g2YncxVTN1dVGgqkNPTlRBQ1RfSUS2dUJDSU1JNkRTWjJ4SXZaSTdGVWM4QbZPV0RUVUp2OFNobWQtSzlYUGhwU1FnoLZleGtVUldSb1NjYWpWTERRTlZjZjVRoA==

The Netherlands: International statement of solidarity

October 7, 2019

On 4 October 2019, a memorial service was organized for Dutch lawyer Derk Wiersum. On this day, a international solidarity statement signed by 34 organizations including Lawyers for Lawyers was published.

International statement of solidarity

Mr. Wiersum, a well-respected lawyer and deputy judge, was shot in broad daylight right outside his house in Amsterdam in the early morning of 18 September 2019. He was representing a crown witness in the so-called Marengo-trial, a high-profile criminal case against members of an organization accused of several murders and attempted murders in the last couple of years. Although the events are still being investigated, it is assumed and highly likely that the death of Mr. Wiersum is related to his work as a lawyer.

This killing of a lawyer, apparently in connection with his work, raises serious concerns for the safety of lawyers and poses a threat to the proper functioning of the rule of law and the adequate protection of rights, including the right to remedies and fair trial.

The organizations welcome the prompt and public condemnation of this crime and the immediate measures taken by the Dutch authorities to initiate an investigation, which should lead to the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators. The organizations also welcome that measures were taken promptly and immediately to protect lawyers and all others who need protection in the Marengo-case. We expect that the Dutch authorities will do everything in their power to ensure that lawyers can do their work safely, freely, and independently in all circumstances.

International statement of solidarity

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=ade7b54a-d809-4394-862d-2bd25bcc9555

International Statement of Solidarity

https://nltimes.nl/2019/10/03/suspect-custody-tied-amsterdam-defense-attorneys-murder

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10825-lawyer-assassination-leads-to-calls-for-police-hiring

International Bar Association: IBA 2019: ‘Enthusiastic amateurs’ wanted to protect lawyers at risk

September 27, 2019

Simon Davis IBA

Commercial lawyers can do their bit as ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ to help protect colleagues at risk and the rule of law in general around the world, the president of the Law Society told the global legal profession today.

‘We need to ensure we are capturing the imagination and influence of the enthusiastic amateur,’ Davis told a packed closing session of the International Bar Association’s annual conference discussing ways to address the persecution of lawyers and judges.

By uniting in solidarity the profession can show that human rights lawyers are not just some isolated group to be picked off by hostile authorities, Davis said.

‘You can be a human rights lawyer in any organisation – we are all human rights lawyers,’ the Clifford Chance partner said.

The conference heard accounts of lawyers being threatened, imprisoned and murdered in countries as diverse as Turkey, Thailand and Venezuela. In the Philippines alone, 44 lawyers have been killed over the past three years, Erik Hammerstein, a commercial litigator who sites on the board of Netherlands group Lawyers for Lawyers said.

Noting this year’s furore over the granting of legal aid to a solicitor acting for a fugitive from justice, Davis said that the battle to protect the independence of the legal profession also had to be fought at home.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/iba-2019-enthusiastic-amateurs-wanted-to-protect-lawyers-at-risk/5101596.article

https://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/Seoul-2019.aspx

https://www.ibanet.org/

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/iba-2019-lawyers-must-stand-against-populism/5101575.article

Image result for IBA 2019

International Bar Association/South Korea: Sessions on persecution of lawyers, Annual Conference, September 22-27, 2019

Image result for IBA 2019

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=AC48E5C0-996A-413A-B43A-B6DF858FC129&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=6E914D6F-9A21-48C9-9C44-3A73FF15BB85&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=49F526CE-0BC8-4DD3-98BE-B5137667ADC7&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

https://www.int-bar.org/Conferences/conf840/ProgrammeSearch/Results/Detail.cfm?FunctionGuid=90E75C5E-82B9-4C7E-8796-CC4CF5A25DE7&Search=ListSessionsByCommittee

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3068206&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop

https://www.ibanet.org/IBAHRI.aspx

https://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/Seoul-2019.aspx

https://www.ibaseoul2019.com/

#IBASeoul

#IBA2019

Azerbaijan: IBAHRI calls for Azerbaijan Bar Association to revoke suspension of human rights lawyer’s licence

March 22, 2018

In support of lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev’s 16 March 2018 appeal for the decision suspending him from practise to be overturned, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) also calls on the Azerbaijan Bar Association to revoke its judgment. The ruling followed a complaint by the Deputy Prosecutor-General of Azerbaijan Rustam Usubov that Mr Mehdiyev and other colleagues were ‘politicised’.

A prominent defender of the rights of political prisoners, Mr Mehdiyev’s licence to practice law was suspended for one year on 22 January 2018 by the Azerbaijan Bar Association for allegedly disclosing prosecution material when he handed an overview of his client, Jahangir Hajiyev former Chairman of the Board of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, to media representatives. Mr Mehdiyev argues that this was legal, as the case had already been decided at the time the interview was given.

IBAHRI Director, Phillip Tahmindjis, commented: ‘The decision to suspend Mr Mehdiyev’s licence appears as part of a deliberate attempt by the Azerbaijan Bar Association to discredit lawyers who take on cases deemed politically sensitive. It is not the role of the Bar Association to pass judgement on the clients of lawyers. Rather, the Azerbaijan Bar Association should seek to protect the independence of the lawyers it seems so intent on attacking.’

Mr Mehdiyev is among a number of lawyers suspended or disbarred after representing political prisoners or government critics, including dozens of activists and journalists arbitrarily charged since President Ilham Aliyev came to power in 2003. In a move seemingly to minimise the number of opposition politicians receiving legal representation, the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure (the ‘Code’) and the Bar Act were amended by Parliament on 31 October 2017 to allow only members of the Bar Association to represent clients in court. The amendments were signed into law on 7 November by President Aliyev and entered into force on 1 January 2018.

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=468f15c6-f397-43ea-8796-86583b43287e

https://eurasianet.org/s/azerbaijans-rural-areas-lack-lawyers-following-new-rule

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/7999-azerbaijan-journalist-mukhtarli-s-appeal-denied

Turkey/IBA: LexisNexis Congratulates 2017 International Bar Association Award Winners

 

Three international lawyers recognised for their outstanding contributions to the legal profession

SYDNEY, October 9, 2017: LexisNexis, a leading provider of content and technology solutions, congratulates Ramazan Demir, Malene C. Alleyne and Balasz Sahin-Toth on their accolades, for their outstanding commitment to pro bono and human rights work at the International Bar Association (IBA) Conference.

The Awards are being presented at IBA Conference in Sydney this week, which LexisNexis is a proud global event partner – of the event itself and the Awards.

Ramazan Demir is the recipient of the 2017 IBA Human Rights Award. Ramazan has acted in the interests of many marginalized groups despite facing serious personal consequences including being charged twice. He has represented members of the People’s Democratic Party over their arbitrary detention and acted as a consultant for those arrested following the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013. Ramazan is also a former recipient of the Human Rights Award of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (2016).

https://www.lexisnexis.com.au/en/insights-and-analysis/media-release/2017/lexisnexis-congratulates-2017-international-bar-association-award-winners

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/ramazan-demir

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Image may contain: 1 person, text

No automatic alt text available.

 

Turkey/Armenia: NANTERRE 17 OCTOBRE La cause arménienne en procès

le 8 octobre, 2017

Nouvelles d'Armenie

Deux procès qui mettront en cause des Arméniens se tiendront le 17 octobre. L’un à Paris, devant la 17e Chambre correctionnelle où comparaitront Ara Toranian et Sam Tilbian, l’autre à Nanterre en correctionnelle aussi. Y seront jugés deux jeunes étudiants qui avaient lancé en mars 2015 de l’eau colorée sur l’ambassadeur de Turquie venue faire une conférence dans une faculté parisienne. Nous publions ci-dessous le communiqué leur comité de soutien, signé par nombre de personnalités et d’associations. Il souligne en substance que la violence est du côté de l’État de turc dont les adversaires n’ont pas que des notes de pressing à payer pour prix de leur opposition. A.T.

L’impunité étant mère du crime et de nouvelles impunités, celle de l’Etat turc pour ses crimes passés encourage ses exactions présentes. En Turquie, aujourd’hui plus de 200 écrivains sont en prison et des centaines d’étudiants ont subi le même sort ; nous ne les oublions pas. Hrant Dink journaliste turc d’origine arménienne a été assassiné il y a 10 ans, victime du nationalisme turc, pour avoir milité pour la reconnaissance du génocide des Arméniens. Selahattin Demirtaş, coprésident du Parti Démocratique des Peuples, HDP, troisième parti au sein de l’Assemblée nationale turque, est placé depuis le mois de novembre en détention préventive : il représentait la voix du seul contre pouvoir ayant la capacité de s’opposer au président Erdogan et à la menace qu’il représente pour les droits des peuples vivant en Turquie. Ayse Acinikli et Ramazan Demir, avocats et défenseurs des libertés, ont été emprisonnés pour avoir exercé leur profession, ce qui leur a valu la qualification de « terroriste ». Comme d’autres magistrats, avocats, syndicalistes, journalistes, académiciens de Turquie, victimes d’une instrumentalisation de la justice de leur pays, ils sont encore poursuivis aujourd’hui. Garo Paylan député du HDP, s’est vu exclure du Parlement pour avoir « osé » prononcer le mot « génocide » concernant les Arméniens.

http://armenews.com/article.php3?id_article=147511

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx (ENGLISH – The Award will be given October 13, 2017 in Sydney)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/ramazan-demir (ENGLISH)

Turkey: Lawyer Ramazan Demir IBA 2017 Human Rights Award

October 9, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, beard

(Facebook)

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx

International Bar Association/China/Turkey/Burma: Human Rights Award 2017 Shortlisted Candidates

Ramazan Demir

Ramazan Demir is a Turkish human rights lawyer, who has in his young career he has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all, and of the Kurdish people in Turkey in particular. Since 2009, Ramazan has continued to represent victims, journalists, and lawyers in the Kurdish areas of Turkey. Unfortunately, due to his valuable human rights work, Ramazan has faced serious personal consequences as criminal charges have been brought against him twice. The second time, in April 2016, Ramazan has been charged with terrorist related activities, because of his work for TUAD (an association for relatives of prisoners in Southeast Turkey). Furthermore, the case-file against him clearly shows that his activities as a human rights lawyer and his relationship with the international human rights community were used as grounds for the accusations against him. Despite the fact that the trial is still on-going, Ramazan took up his work for victims of human rights violations again and continues working for them up until today. The next hearing will be on 13 September 2017. Members of the judging panel noted that in terms of Ramazan’s efforts in the protection and advancement of Human Rights, he has made “significant personal endeavours” and in terms of the international impact and sustainability, Ramazan has made “a high impact on defence work in extremely challenging and threatening circumstances”. Lawyers for Lawyers, the organisation that nominated Ramazan, because they believe he is “a prominent and fearless defender of the rule of law and human rights.”


U Ko Ni

U Ko Ni was an activist, lawyer, author and academic. He worked tirelessly against the military dominance in Myanmar, contributing to the repeal of certain controversial laws and vigorously advocating for the amending of the military drafted 2008 Constitution. The 2008 Constitution reserves 25 percent of parliamentary seats for the military, empowers the military to appoint the ministers of defense, home affairs, and border affairs, and allows the military to dissolve the government during a national emergency. In private conversations, U Ko Ni was frank about the need to reform the 2008 Constitution in order to tackle Myanmar’s most serious problems and to strengthen the rule of law. U Ko Ni also became increasingly concerned about the myriad of ways in which Muslims are marginalised and discriminated in Myanmar and was eager to find ways to make a difference, notably through discussing hate speech and hate crimes in Myanmar and potential solutions. Members of the judging panel noted that he was a “significant advocate for protection of minorities in Myanmar” and had an “outstanding track record.” U Ko Ni was assassinated on 29 January 2017, several INGOs and others condemned the assassination. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), along with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada in their joint statement described U Ko Ni as somebody “who strongly advocated against religious discrimination and for inter-communal peace”, and called for “a prompt, impartial and effective investigation capable of identifying all those responsible and holding them accountable in a fair trial.”


Xie Yang

After an attempt to visit Chen Guangcheng, a laywer who was put under house arrest in Shandong province, which ended in a shocking and violent interception, Xie Yang, at the age of 38, made the decision to become a human rights lawyer. From then on, until his arrest in July 2015, Xie Yang represented dozens of human rights cases, confronted China’s human rights abuses and dictatorial ills, and spoke out fearlessly on China’s social media for his belief in democracy and universal human rights. Xie Yang was arrested during China’s ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in July 2015, and then was subjected to 6 months of secret detention during which time he was cruelly tortured. Last November, 17 months after his arrest, Xie Yang was finally allowed to see his own lawyers where he requested that a thorough description of the torture he had suffered should be published to expose the widespread use of torture in China. The torture revelations marked a turning point, as the international outcry against torture made it impossible for China to continue its planned trials and sentences. The government signalled that it would release Xie Yang in “due time,” while since late February, Xie Yang’s lawyers have been prevented from meeting him. On May 8, Xie Yang was tried, and in the court and on camera he admitted guilty and denied torture. He was released on that day, but except for a couple of appearances in the company of police, he has been disappeared and his wife and relatives have not been able to contact him. Members of the judging panel noted Xie Yang had given an “outstanding personal sacrifice and commitment to the causes of human rights.”

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx