Tag Archives: ICJ

UN/ICJ: UN Human Rights Council adopts resolutions on independence of judges & lawyers

June 22, 2017

The ICJ welcomes the adoption today, by consensus, of two UN Human Rights Council resolutions on the independence of judges & lawyers.

The Human Rights Council adopted the biannual resolution on independence of judges and lawyers, including a number of new elements on the theme of independence of lawyers and the legal profession. In particular, the resolution highlights the ongoing threats against and interference with the independence of lawyers and the ability of lawyers to fulfil their professional functions, including in relation to human rights.

The resolution reaffirms and builds on the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The Human Rights Council also unanimously renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers for a further period of three years.

The unofficial text of the two resolutions are available in PDF format below:

https://www.icj.org/hrc35resolutionijl/

Pakistan: prominent Human Rights Defender Asma Jahangir threatened

June 22, 2017

Pakistani authorities need to ensure a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into a barrage of assaults and threats against lawyers in the premises of the Lahore High Court, the ICJ, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.

The Government needs to defend the rule of law and prosecute those responsible for any criminal conduct.

On 20 June, during proceedings of a case involving the alleged abduction and subsequent “disappearance” of a 26-year old woman and her two-year old son, supporters of the accused, a prominent lawyer, physically assaulted the complainant’s counsel Shabbir Hussain and Usama Malik, and made abusive remarks and threats against another member of the complainant’s legal team, Noor Ejaz Chaudhry.

The attackers were mostly lawyers and members of the local bar association.

The attackers also made abusive and threatening remarks against Asma Jahangir (photo), a notable human rights lawyer, Honorary Commissioner of the ICJ, and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Asma Jahangir was not present in the court but was represented by her legal team comprising of Shabbir Hussain, Usama Malik, Mian Liaquat Ali and Noor Ejaz Chaudhry.

“The legal profession is one of the pillars of the administration of justice. It is deeply worrying that instead of discharging their responsibility to uphold the rule of law, certain lawyers would resort to threats and violence in a clear attempt to obstruct justice,” said Ian Seiderman, ICJ’s Legal and Policy Director.

https://www.icj.org/pakistan-prominent-human-rights-defender-asma-jahangir-threatened/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/22/pakistan-investigate-assault-lawyers

http://dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/22-Jun-17/dig-told-to-report-on-missing-woman-lawyer-by-june-30

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/06/22/lawyers-supporting-accused-murderer-attack-victims-lawyers-family/

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1440672/beaten-black-blue-lawyers-thrash-advocate-appearing-pbc-member/

https://www.dawn.com/news/1340862

https://www.samaa.tv/pakistan/2017/06/lhcba-lawyers-alleged-supporters-thrash-opposing-counsel-during-court-hearing-abuse-asma-jahangir/

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/06/22/hrcp-condemns-attack-on-asma-jahangirs-associates/

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1441419/misogyny-at-the-bar/

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/212329-Mocking-the-law

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-lawyers-verbally-and-physically-abused-court

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/212596-Attack-on-lawyers-condemned

http://dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/24-Jun-17/former-scba-president-decries-attack-on-asmas-team

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

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/lawyers/asma-jahangir/

Turkey: judicial independence and freedom of expression

June 13, 2017

The ICJ welcomed today the Special Rapporteur’s report on Turkey and his preliminary findings on his visit to the country last November.

The ICJ welcomes and concurs with the finding that the “situation of the judiciary is undermining freedom of opinion and expression”.

Mass dismissals of judges have had a devastating effect on the judiciary’s independence, already weakened by the current state of emergency. Furthermore, we are concerned at the claim by the President that the state of emergency will remain in place until Turkey reaches “peace and prosperity”.  Whatever other questions there may be about their validity, maintaining emergency derogations to human rights law instruments for such an open-ended period would clearly not be in line with international law.

The ICJ is also concerned at the constitutional amendments approved on the 16th of April by a referendum. Among other things, the amendments have given powers to the President and the Parliament to appoint all the members of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, the body tasked with protecting the independence of these professions.

https://www.icj.org/turkey-judicial-independence-and-freedom-of-expression/

Turkey/Azerbaijan/ICJ: Threats to independence of judges and lawyers; backsliding on violence against women (UN statements)

June 12, 2017

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today highlighted judicial corruption and threats to judges and lawyers in Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as regressive steps on violence against women in the United States of America and Russian Federation.

The statement, delivered during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, was as follows:

“The ICJ warmly welcomes the new Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers. As he has highlighted, ensuring judges are accountable for corruption and human rights violations, while respecting judicial independence, should be a global priority. Our Practitioners’ Guide on Judicial Accountability, published last year, should be of particular use to the Rapporteur and other actors in this regard.

Several situations serve as stark examples of other issues raised in his report. In Turkey, recent constitutional amendments give the President and Parliament control over the judiciary’s governing body. This has undermined the judiciary’s independence, already threatened by the mass dismissal of judges and the state of emergency. Lawyers and legal scholars, among others, are routinely dismissed or threatened by the authorities.

In Azerbaijan, the Bar Association is not independent and does not protect its members against undue interference with the exercise of their professional duties. Rather, it often serves as a tool of retaliation against independent human rights lawyers, including through disbarment proceedings that contravene international standards.

We would ask the Special Rapporteur for his views on the role his mandate can play in these and similar situations.

The ICJ also welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.”

https://www.icj.org/hrc35-srijl-srvaw/

China: Mounting Pressure To Free Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yang

May 6, 2017

China's flag. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

An international group of lawyers and judges on May 2 called on Beijing to release human rights lawyer Xie Yang, who was detained during a nationwide crackdown on the legal profession beginning in July 2015, and whose trial at a court in the central province of Hunan was called off last month.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the Chinese government to release Xie, who has reported torture during his incarceration, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

“Xie Yang’s arrest and prosecution seem to be in connection with his performing legitimate professional functions as a human rights lawyer,” ICJ secretary-general Sam Zarifi said in a statement.

“Lawyers in China like Xie Yang are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China,” he said.

“The government should release Xie Yang immediately and conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation on the allegations that he has been subjected to torture,” he said.

The ICJ said Xie has been unable to communicate with his lawyers since he gave them his account of his torture at the hands of police, and is now represented by a government-appointed lawyer.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/06052017-china-mounting-pressure-to-tree-human-rights-lawyer-xie-yang/

https://www.icj.org/china-release-human-rights-lawyer-xie-yang/

Bill of Indictment Against Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yang

China: release human rights lawyer Xie Yang

May 2, 2017

The ICJ today called on the Chinese government to release immediately Xie Yang, a prominent human rights lawyer who was arrested during the crackdown on human rights defenders in July 2015. Authorities have now canceled his scheduled trial without giving a reason.

He was charged on 16 December 2016 with inciting subversion of State power and disrupting court order. He is detained at an undisclosed location.

“Xie Yang’s arrest and prosecution seem to be in connection with his performing legitimate professional functions as a human rights lawyer,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Secretary General.

“No lawyer should ever be subject to persecution for carrying out their professional duties. Lawyers in China like Xie Yang are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China,” he added.

Xie Yang had served as counsel of the family of Xu Chunhe, who was alleged to have been shot dead by police authorities in May 2015 in Heilongjiang Province.

He also acted as counsel for persons alleging religious persecution, alleged victims of unlawful land seizures, and outspoken critics of the government.

https://www.icj.org/china-release-human-rights-lawyer-xie-yang/

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(Chr Lawyers Facebook)

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/international-lawyers-judges-call-on-beijing-to-release-detained-rights-lawyer-xie-yang-05022017112247.html

ICJ: The ICJ appoints Iranian-American lawyer Sam Zarifi as new Secretary General

April 12, 2017

Saman Zia-Zarifi is the new Secretary General of the ICJ. He replaces Wilder Tayler who retired in March, the Geneva-based organization announced today.

An Iranian-American lawyer, Zarifi joined the ICJ in 2012 as Regional Director for the Asia & Pacific Region based in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining the ICJ, he served as Amnesty International’s director for Asia and the Pacific from 2008 to 2012, and before that worked at Human Rights Watch from 2000.

“Wilder Tayler masterfully guided the ICJ for the past 10 years and expanded its reach across the world in perilous times,” said Prof Robert Goldman, the ICJ’s Acting President.

“The Commission is fully confident that Sam Zarifi will build on this legacy by bringing to the ICJ as a whole the energy and vision he deployed so successfully in the Asia Pacific region.”

The ICJ, founded in Berlin in 1952, is one of world’s oldest human rights organizations.

Composed of 60 accomplished jurists from all regions of the world, the ICJ has for 65 years devoted itself to promoting the observance of the rule of law and the legal protection of human rights.

The ICJ Secretary General leads the implementation of the Commission’s objectives through the ICJ’s International Secretariat.

https://www.icj.org/the-icj-appoints-iranian-american-lawyer-sam-zarifi-as-new-secretary-general/