Tag Archives: IBA

Afghanistan: DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2023


The FBE supports all those in danger in Afghanistan.  Since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban in 2021, the situation of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in Afghanistan has worsened. Many were left stranded when Government evacuation efforts ended. The international  legal community campaigns to persuade governments to rescue legal professionals at risk. However, most governments evacuated their own nationals and those who had been employed by the respective Government or related bodies. Most Afghan legal professionals did not fall into either category, even though they had served those Governments’ interests by upholding the rule of law in their country. Many were actively involved in the prosecution of members of the Taliban and  are in great danger. The international legal community must act now to persuade more assistance to evacuate lawyers, prosecutors, judges and legal professionals at risk and to offer safe havens in their respective countries.

The FBE endorses the report of the Coalition for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and urges all to implement recommendations in particular:

  • The international community, in their diplomatic efforts toward the de facto authorities in Afghanistan, are urged to ensure the maintenance of a free and independent legal profession, in order to safeguard fundamental rights, including women’s rights, the independence and integrity of the administration of justice, and the rule of law.
  • The international community is urged to take all necessary measures to ensure that the lawyers at risk who remain in Afghanistan can safely leave the country. In particular:
  • To immediately implement evacuation and resettlement programmes for Afghan lawyers remaining in Afghanistan or located in neighboring countries.
  • To ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement at all times.
  • To make humanitarian visas available to enable Afghan lawyers in need to access international protection legally and safely.
  • To ensure that all States suspend deportations and summary returns of Afghan nationals to Afghanistan or third states.
  •  To ensure that all States thoroughly investigate allegations of ill-treatment of Afghan nationals, especially in the States’ border regions and in removal centers in their territories.







https://2k86.mj.am/nl3/9MUI9jpjAKJgvmFwBU6sEA (FRANCAIS)

London: a Human Rights Solidarity and Arrested Lawyers Initiative action

Brussels (Facebook, CCBE – Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe )

Afghanistan: Male judges and prosecutors left behind in ‘forgotten crisis’


The Taliban’s increasingly draconian policies in Afghanistan, the return to Sharia law and attacks on women’s rights have rightly drawn the world’s attention. However, almost 18 months after the Taliban seized power, there are growing calls to ensure that Afghan men, including those working in the legal profession, are also safe from harm.

Imogen Canavan, a Legal Consultant at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, has worked closely with the IBA and the International Association of Women Judges to evacuate vulnerable Afghans since August 2021. As part of these efforts, hundreds of female judges deemed to be at risk were evacuated alongside their families and have since been resettled in Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Iceland.

While Canavan says these efforts are to be hugely commended, she’s increasingly concerned for the safety of male judges in Afghanistan who are now being forced to impose Sharia Law. ‘One of the focuses for me as a consequence of this work has been the male judges, because I feel like they’re a much bigger group,’ she says. ‘There are about 200 female judges, but there are about 2,000 male judges. What we see in terms of security risks for them is mostly kidnappings of the eldest son. They usually want the judge to present themselves to the Taliban in exchange for the son. Then often we anticipate that this would be likely to result in killing or certainly torture. There’s extortion as well.’

Safiya was an Afghan national working in the UK last August when the Taliban seized Kabul. Though she had no previous links to the legal profession, she, like Canavan, found herself fully immersed in the evacuation efforts. Safiya has watched in horror at how women have been steadily removed from nearly all areas of public life in Afghanistan, but says many male judges could be even more at risk than their female counterparts. ‘A lot of very well-known male judges were left behind,’ she says. ‘That’s the thing that upset me the most because all these men at the top of their field were getting in touch with me, but there was no evacuation mechanism for them. They’re the ones that are most in need now.’

Canavan says it was also a mistake that prosecutors weren’t deemed at risk enough to be evacuated by governments and humanitarian organisations in the wake of the Taliban takeover. ‘They are being attacked with knives and guns and their homes are being burnt down,’ she says. ‘Like legal academics, this group has not been prioritised, has been left behind and nobody’s thinking about them.’



Click to access ILAC_Afghanistan_Report_2023-2.pdf




https://news.un.org/fr/story/2023/01/1131517 (FRANCAIS)


China repression: The families who have left loved ones behind


Geng He has suffered persecution, surveillance and the break-up of her family, all simply because of the man she married. Her story reveals the dark side of China under its leader Xi Jinping, who has just secured a third term in office.

Geng He remembers exactly where she was when she became aware of the overwhelming power of the Chinese state: she was in a beauty salon in Beijing, where she’d taken her daughter, Grace, to have her hair cut.

Suddenly, dozens of people barged in and told the mother and daughter to go with them. It was the secret police.

At first, Geng He didn’t understand what was going on – or who the people were. She asked if they could finish the haircut first. No, came the reply. There were more officers in the street outside; others were waiting for them at their apartment block.

“I looked around and – wow – the first floor and then the second floor were crammed with people,” she told me.

The couple’s apartment was searched, and Geng He was told that her husband had been arrested while visiting his sister in Shandong province, a few hours south of the capital.

It was 2006 and the beginning of the end of their life as a family.

Geng He’s husband, Gao Zhisheng, was a lawyer. He had once been feted by the communist government, but then he started defending people the authorities didn’t want defending.











https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gao_Zhisheng (FRANCAIS)

https://www.radiotelevisionmarti.com/a/china-disidente-carcel-visita-familia-derechos-humanos/18755.html (ESPANOL)


Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) supports institutional independence of Ukrainian legal profession


Ukrainian National Bar Association Vice President Valentyn Gvozdiy held a working meeting with the President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), James MacGill, and the head of the organization’s secretariat Simone Cuomo during the annual conference of the International Bar Association (IBA) in Miami (USA)

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement, Ukrainian MP Sergii Ionushas, ​​also took part in the meeting, emphasizing the exceptional importance of the work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the field of European integration.

As you know, with our country receiving the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union, the Ukrainian National Bar received the opportunity to raise its status in the CCBE from an observer member to associate member status. This opens up new possibilities and access to more information regarding regulating the legal profession.

Integrating such an important institution as the Institute of Advocacy into the European Legal Community is essential for Ukraine. Building a solid institution to protect Ukraine’s human rights is a prerequisite for strengthening the rule of law. This is the condition the EU has set for Ukraine to grant membership.

The Ukrainian National Bar Association cooperates with European colleagues almost daily, informing them about the current state of the legal system in the country and the challenges facing the legal profession during the war.

It will be recalled that the CCBE provided significant charitable assistance to Ukrainian lawyers affected by the war and, having developed with UNBA, adopted the necessary recommendations to facilitate the access of Ukrainian advocates to the market of legal services in European countries.

Founded in 1960, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is an international non-profit association that, since its inception, has been at the forefront of promoting the views of European lawyers and protecting the legal principles on which democracy and the rule of law are based.






UK: How solicitors and firms are supporting displaced Ukrainian lawyers


Since the illegal invasion of Ukraine began, the solicitor profession has stood in solidarity with the country and its people. We brought together over 100 displaced Ukrainian lawyers and 24 major employers to create networking, employment and training opportunities.

Over 170 guests attended the job fair on 26 September, which aimed to support Ukrainian lawyers who have moved to the UK following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Over 20 major employers, including Shell, Deutsche Bank, Dentons and LexisNexis, had the opportunity to promote a diverse range of roles and initiatives to more than 100 Ukrainian lawyers and collect applications for vacancies.

UK organisations also provided practical advice and guidance, helping lawyers to understand their options for employment and training.

“Today is an example of solidarity in action,” said chief executive of the Law Society, Ian Jeffrey.

“We have brought together law firms, in-house legal teams, legal service providers, recruitment agencies, training providers and English language schools that Ukrainian lawyers will be able to meet with.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, gave a powerful speech condemning Russia’s illegal invasion of his homeland.

He also highlighted the critical role of initiatives that address local problems experienced by Ukrainian refugees, including the search for employment and housing.





https://www.avocatparis.org/Solidarite-Ukraine (FRANCAIS)



Noted Lawyer Charged Over His Stance On Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine


The chairman of the Attorneys’ Chamber in Russia’s Udmurtia region, Dmitry Talantov, has been accused of committing five crimes and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Pervy Otdel (The First Unit), a group that unites lawyers and right defenders, wrote on Telegram on September 14 that Talantov has been charged with the distribution of fake materials inciting political hatred and discord, and two counts of inciting hatred and discord using an official position.

Talantov was arrested in the Udmurt capital, Izhevsk, and sent to pretrial detention in Moscow in late June after he criticized the Russian government and military forces over a deadly strike on a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk.

He was initially charged with distributing false information about the Russian armed forces.

Earlier in April, Talantov, who has openly condemned Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, also harshly criticized Russia’s military for killing civilians in the Ukrainian towns and cities of Irpin, Bucha, and Mariupol.

Talantov was the lawyer for Ivan Safronov, a prominent former Russian journalist who was sentenced to 22 years in prison last week on a treason charge widely considered to be politically motivated.










https://desk-russie.eu/2022/08/17/fausse-informations.html (FRANCAIS)

USA: Condemning the Murder of Mumtaz Sherhai in Afghanistan and Calling on the International Community to Demand Taliban Compliance with International Law


The New York City Bar Association (“City Bar”) condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent brutal murder of Afghan professor and former prosecutor Mumtaz Sherzai.[1]

Mumtaz Sherzai’s Murder

On July 15, 2022, Mumtaz Sherzai went missing from his home in the Matun district of the city of Khost, in Khost province in southeast Afghanistan.[2] Sherzai was a former National Directorate of Security (“NDS”) prosecutor and a professor at Khost University.[3] The following day, on July 16, Sherzai’s remains were found in the Tani district, near the Khost province airport.[4] His bruised and bloodied body bore obvious signs of beatings and severe torture, which are presumed to be his cause of death.[5] Sherzai is survived by his wife and their three-year-old daughter.[6] He was the sole breadwinner for his extended family.[7]

Sherzai’s Targeting as a Former Prosecutor and as a Professor

Regrettably, Sherzai’s murder is by no means an isolated instance. Both his service as a former prosecutor and his employment as a law professor at the time of his death rendered him highly vulnerable as a target of the Taliban. As a federal prosecutor with the NDS in the Afghan government before the mid-August 2021 Taliban takeover, Sherzai was responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases involving domestic and international terrorism, as well as other national security-related crimes.[8] Like hundreds of other former prosecutors across the country, Sherzai feared Taliban retribution[9] and was seeking to be evacuated to safety.[10] Most of the former prosecutors who have not escaped Afghanistan are in hiding.[11] Moreover, even before mid-August 2021, federal prosecutors regularly fell victim to the Taliban and other insurgent forces.[12]

Sherzai’s post-August 2021 work as a law professor also made him a target. For example, in one of the most recent high-profile cases involving the persecution of an Afghan legal professional, the Taliban arrested Faizullah Jalal, a prominent professor of law and political science at Kabul University. When Jalal was snatched from his Kabul home on January 8, 2022, the international community was seized with fear for the professor’s life. His release by the Taliban, unharmed, mere days later has been attributed to the swift and vocal worldwide condemnation of the Taliban’s action. But for that global outcry, the professor likely may have met a very different fate.[13]

Protections for Sherzai Under International Law

Sherzai’s murder highlights the Taliban’s grave violations of basic principles and precepts of international law in Afghanistan. These principles and precepts are designed to protect all members of the legal profession.[14]






Afghanistan: Taliban’s new bar exam procedures & notable absence of new women attorneys


Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation on the ground since the Taliban takeover. Here, a young lawyer in Kabul reports on the complications Taliban governance has wrought for young lawyers wishing to regain their rights to practice in the country. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association was merged with the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice right after they seized power in August last year. The Taliban merged the bar association into the Ministry of Justice’s organizational framework as a general directorate, despite efforts by several advocacy groups to protect the bar association’s independence.

The organization of the ministry has been expanded to include the bar directorate, and a procedure was later created to govern its daily operations. In accordance to this procedure, in order to practice law in Afghanistan, every licensed attorney is required to pass a new evaluation exam.

To assess the legal and Islamic knowledge of attorneys who are interested in taking the test and obtaining a new license, a new testing mechanism was established.

The exam was divided into two main components that tested applicants’ legal and Islamic knowledge, respectively. Although the major purpose of the exam was to assess applicants’ understanding of Islam, the testing committee also posed questions about business laws, the penal code, arbitration, inheritance law, and other topics.

In accordance with the new procedure, a committee comprising five members — mainly appointed on the basis of their knowledge of Islamic law — is appointed to evaluate an attorney who shows interest in obtaining a new license to practice law. The procedure does not limit gender diversity for obtaining a legal license but unfortunately, no female attorneys have yet been given a license. In addition, the Ministry of Justice has not made any apparent effort to inspire female lawyers to obtain new licenses.

The result of the second round of the evaluation test can be accessed here.

I have interviewed two attorneys who succeeded in the last two exams under the new Taliban protocol, and below are the details they provided regarding the new testing procedures:


Question: Why do you think no female lawyers were in attendance?

Answer: There are a number of significant reasons why female lawyers are unable to attend the test. In particular, most women fear participating and practicing within the Taliban’s judicial and prosecution agencies and many are discouraged from working as lawyers in the country. Generally speaking, the Taliban’s mentality toward gender roles in education and professional life has caused women not to attend the evaluation test.

Question: What sorts of religious questions you were asked?

Answer: The test was on basic Islamic issues such as specific procedures as related court hearings, and issues like praying five times a day. Those with the greatest awareness of Islamic rules and principles seemed to have better opportunities to obtain their new law licenses.











https://www.change.org/p/female-afghan-judges-are-at-extreme-risk-of-violence-and-need-emergency-visas-urgently (SIGN THE PETITION!)


https://news.un.org/fr/story/2022/07/1123012 (FRANCAIS)


Egypt: 20 human rights groups demand the release of Mohamed El-Baqer


On Thursday, 20 human rights groups issued a statement calling for the immediate and unconditional release of human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms.

They said that El-Baqer’s detention was arbitrary and was intended to punish him for his legitimate work. They added that his detention puts his psychological well-being and life in grave danger.

On June 25, 2022, El-Baqer completed 1,000 days of arbitrary detention in Tora High Security 2, a prison known for its harsh and inhuman conditions. He is banned from leaving his cell, denied access to decent health care, and allowed to see his family only once a month.

El-Baqer was arrested on September 29, 2019, while performing his duties as a human rights lawyer when attending the interrogation of blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was arrested the same morning.

Rights groups said that the Egyptian authorities had ignored the numerous appeals issued for the release of arbitrarily detained human rights defenders, such as the statements published by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, as well as the two resolutions issued by the European Parliament on the situation of human rights defenders in Egypt. They asserted that the Egyptian authorities routinely resort to repressive tactics such as prolonged pretrial detention, enforced disappearances, torture, unfair trials, and judicial harassment to silence dissenting voices. They called on the United States and the European Union to condemn the repressive actions against human rights defenders, journalists and political activists in Egypt. They also called on them to use all possible tools to address the human rights crisis in Egypt.






https://www.amnesty.be/infos/actualites/article/egypte-militants-plan-injustement-emprisonnes-jours-liberes (FRANCAIS)



Libertà per Alaa Abdel Fattah e altri prigionieri politici in Egitto

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


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