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.
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
International Statement of Solidarity
September 27, 2019
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.
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.
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).
le 8 octobre, 2017
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.
https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx (ENGLISH – The Award will be given October 13, 2017 in Sydney)