Tag Archives: International Commission of Jurists

Turkey: Free expression organizations highlight unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in report to UN

August 5, 2019

More than three years since Turkey’s 2016 failed coup and one year after its state of emergency was lifted, the government continues its relentless and pervasive crackdown on civic space, media freedom and dissenting voices.

Turkey’s human rights record will come under review by the UN Human Rights Council during the Universal Period Review (UPR) mechanism in January 2020. Ahead of the review, ARTICLE 19, P24, PEN International, English PEN, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Press Institute (IPI), Freemuse, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), IFEX and Norwegian PEN have made a submission to the UPR.

“This report charts the extraordinarily rapid decline in the rule of law and freedom of expression in Turkey over the last four years. The Turkish authorities have dismantled the independence of the judiciary and more journalists have been jailed than anywhere else in the world,” Sarah Clarke. “We urge UN member states to take much stronger action in holding Turkey to account for these violations.”

“The Turkish media is pinning its hopes on international mechanisms and the United Nations Human Rights Council to end its persecution,” IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “This report not only highlights the precarious situation in Turkey, but also makes suggestions to remedy the situation.”

Amongst the report’s key recommendations are to urge Turkey to restore the rule of law and impendence of the judiciary, to release all jailed journalists and to drop the hundreds of baseless charges against journalists, artists, civil society actors and academics.

Turkey: Free expression organizations highlight unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in report to UN

https://rsf.org/en/news/turkey-leading-coalition-free-expression-organisations-highlight-unprecedented-crackdown-freedom

International Coalition consists of Bar Associations and NGOs made submission on rights violations in Turkey

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

Joint UPR submission Turkey

SCF’s submission for the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Turkey

Turkey: ICJ Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

UPR of Turkey: Joint Stakeholder Submission to the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.article19.org/resources/turkey-upr-submission-on-threats-to-freedom-of-expression/

https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/2019/07/sar-calls-for-action-to-counter-mass-targeting-of-higher-education-communities-in-turkey/.

Turkey: workshop on the use of the UN Universal Periodic Review

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TRindex.aspx

http://www.un.org.tr/humanrights/en/universal-periodic-review-3rd-cycle

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://ahvalnews.com/torture/lawyers-says-torture-rise-turkey-2016-coup-plot

Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani Bar starts disciplinary investigation against lawyer Elchin Sadigov

July 10, 2019

To the attention of all international organizations and human rights community!
This morning at around 15:30 I was summoned to the ABA by a call, being told that I should go there. Since there was not any pending administrative proceedings launched against me, I asked about the reasons, however was remained unanswered. I was at the ABA just in time. I was acted in an aggressive manner. Turned out that, there was a complaint filed against me. It was written by spouse of deceased Sardar Gasimov, who was a former member of Disciplinary Commission, namely Gasimova Kamala Elkhan gizi on June 28, 2019.

The last sentence of the complaint is as follows which hasn’t, most likely, been written by any other than a counselor: “…Therefore I ask you to take required measures in relation to counselor Elchin Sadigov, incriminating him within the law…”
Even though I told them that my facebook profile has not registered for my professional activities, but a personal one, moreover I’ve not use any humiliating expressions directed towards Sardar Gasimov, but shared my own opinions relying on my right to freedom of expression as a lawyer and a citizen, and only the domestic court is entitled to examine the defamation case, the decision on commencing administrative proceedings was issued.
Probably they think that I’ve criticized current situation on legal practice in our country while meeting with Donald Dusk, President of the EC and CoE Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic. As well as it also proved that all the threats directed to me with respect to journalist Polad Aslanov, are real and have factual basis.

For your kind attention, my facebook status of June 28, 2019 stated only as follows:
“Just a few moments ago I put a comment in our group of bar members, however it was deleted. Then let me express my opinions as a citizen.
Sardar Gasimov was the member of ABA who investigated my case with respect to disciplinary proceedings launched against me upon the prosecuting authorities’ unabashed complaint referred to the ABA. I did not know him before the launched disciplinary proceedings against me (to my surprise he was well-known), .
At every our meeting he said “I know you were eavesdropped on”, and what is worse even though he confessed that lawyers should not be sanctioned for their activities, he also complained that since he was no one the hell there, he was obliged to suit the action to the word. In the end he presented a negative opinion on me without any justification, expressing that as if I had violated the legal ethics.
Azerbaijani people know inside out their wise, persistent, demanding counselors who raise the reputation of legal practice in Azerbaijan.
There are still the ones who write modern times’ history, most probably at least. Then ask them also to add that Sardar Gasimov was one of them who expressed negative opinions on me, moreover to suffix the sentence of “Oh world why you’re not going upside down?”
I asked my followers not to use any humiliating language when commenting”.

(Elchin Sadigov Facebook, 10/07/19)

http://www.turan.az/ext/news/2019/7/free/Social/en/82122.htm

The lawyer announced about pressure on him because he protects the journalist

The lawyer was not allowed to meet with Afghan Mukhtarli

Azerbaijan: lawyer Sadigov should be applauded, not sanctioned, for acting professionally

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/azerbaijan-needs-more-freedom-of-speech-more-lawyers-and-more-jobs-for-refugees

Council of Europe: Azerbaijan needs more freedom of speech, more lawyers

https://gozetci.az/v%C9%99kil-elcin-sadigov-muv%C9%99kkilin%C9%99-gor%C9%99-h%C9%99d%C9%99l%C9%99nib/ (AZERBAIJANI)

Turkey: Turkey must rebuild trust in judiciary, protect human rights – CoE commissioner

July 8, 2019

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The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic has called on Turkey to urgently take measures to re-establish trust in its judiciary and repair the rule of law, which was damaged during two years of emergency rule following the July 2016 coup attempt.

Constitutional changes regarding the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) made during the two-year state of emergency “are in clear contradiction with Council of Europe standards,” Mijatovic said following a five-day visit to Turkey.

“The suspension of ordinary safeguards and procedures for the dismissal, recruitment and appointment of judges and prosecutors’’ were an additional cause for concern, she said.

Turkey’s state of emergency came into effect on July 20, 2016, days after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government survived a coup attempt.

The state of emergency allowed the government to issue decree laws, bypassing legislative and judicial procedures. Over 77,000 people have been arrested and another 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been fired from the government as part of a crackdown by Ankara following the failed putsch.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkey-must-rebuild-trust-judiciary-protect-human-rights-coe-commissioner

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/turkey-needs-to-put-an-end-to-arbitrariness-in-the-judiciary-and-to-protect-human-rights-defenders

Threats to the rule of law in Europe

EU accuses Turkey for violating human rights by opening Gezi protests trial

9 Turkish judges, prosecutors suspended over alleged Gülen links

CoE calls on Turkey to repair damage to Turkish judiciary inflicted by state of emergency

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/fr/compte-rendu-presentation-du-rapport-de-human-rights-watch-sur-la-situation-des-avocats-en-turquie/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.union-syndicale-magistrats.org/web2/fr/soutien-collegues-turcs_news_1295 (FRANCAIS)

The Philippines: Killing the lawyers: 43 jurists murdered in the Philippines since 2016 | Report

July 5, 2019

Image result for lawyers' rights watch canada

Killing the lawyers:* 43 jurists murdered in the Philippines since 2016

 Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights

Report
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

5 July 2019

Contents

  1. Introduction. 1
  2. The Philippines’ persistent pattern of gross and systematic human rights violations. 3
  3. International law obligations. 4
  4. National legal obligations. 4
  5. Systematic impunity for extrajudicial killings. 5
  6. Conclusion and recommendations. 5
  7. Appendix: Jurists killed in the Philippines since July 2016 in date order of murder 7

1.     Introduction

Since 30 June 2016, the Government of the Philippines has engaged in a continuing, gross, and systematic campaign of extrajudicial killing in violation of the Philippines’ international law obligations. Since President Rodrigo Duterte (President Duterte) took office on 30 June 2016, an estimated 27,000[1] persons, including children,[2] have been extrajudicially killed with impunity, as part of a “war on drugs.” The Philippines’ official number is 6,600.[3] Among the victims are 43 lawyers, prosecutors and judges (jurists) assassinated between August 2016 and May 2019 and numerous human rights defenders (defenders). This pattern of gross and systematic violations contravenes the Philippines’ obligation to prevent and remedy violations of the right to life. The widespread murders of jurists also causes violations of the rights to legal representation and a fair trial.

In only five cases are suspects in custody or charges pending against a suspect. In the remaining  cases there appears to have been no effective investigation or minimal progress on investigations. In addition to the 43 jurists murdered, eight lawyers have survived murderous attacks, and one has been abducted and disappeared. A court worker and two paralegals are also among those extrajudicially killed. A list of the 43 jurists with dates of death and status of investigations as of 10 June 2019 is found in the Appendix to this report.

Philippines: Killing the lawyers: Forty jurists murdered in the Philippines since 2016 | Report

https://www.lrwc.org/

Philippines: failure to investigate killings demands UN action

Attacks on Philippines Lawyers 10 June 2019 (1) (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

PH’s disinformation campaign in Geneva

Tajikistan: Oral statement to Human Rights Committee

July 1, 2019

Oral statement to Human Rights Committee

Today Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the 126th session of the Human Rights Committee for the review of Tajikistan’s compliance with it’s international human rights obligations. In July 2018, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a submission for the List of Issues for this review, to inform the Committee about the situation of lawyers in Tadzjikistan.

 

Lawyers for Lawyers highlighted the failure of the authorities of the Republic of Tajikistan to ensure that all persons have effective and equal access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession.

Firstly, The legal profession lacks institutional independence. The admission to and the continued practice within the legal profession is controlled by the executive branch. The 2015 Law “On Advokatura and Advocates’ Activities” requires all lawyers to renew their accreditation and go through a new examination process, which must be redone every five years. Since the reform, the number of licensed lawyers in Tajikistan has fallen precipitously. This seems detrimental to access to justice. The process also carries the risk of misuse by authorities seeking to exclude or disbar lawyers.

Secondly, professional rights and privileges of lawyers who are still able to practice law are violated. Lawyers are repeatedly denied access to clients in detention and to appropriate information. Lawyer-client confidentiality and lawyers’ rights to freedom of expression and association are not respected. Furthermore, lawyers involved in sensitive cases are identified with their clients or their clients’ causes. These lawyers have been subjected to intimidation, harassment as well as arbitrary arrests, prosecutions and convictions. Some of them are now in prison after closed, unfair trials, or were forced to flee the country due to fears of reprisal. An emblematic case is the prosecution of Buzurgmehr Yorov, who is serving a combined sentence of 28 years in prison. As a result of these problems, lawyers are unable to provide effective legal representation.

Oral statement to Human Rights Committee

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/06/11/submission-un-human-rights-committees-review-tajikistan

https://www.rferl.org/a/un-group-calls-on-tajik-government-to-release-imprisoned-rights-lawyer/29985133.html

Tajikistan: ICJ calls for immediate release of imprisoned lawyer

UN committee offers grim view Tajikistan’s human rights record

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/tajikistan/2019/07/d25410/

https://www.dw.com/en/tajikistan-regime-targeting-families-of-political-activists/a-49541709

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

Tajikistan: UN Group Calls On Tajik Government To Release Imprisoned Rights Lawyer

June 6, 2019

Buzurgmehr Yorov was one of the very few lawyers in Tajikistan willing to defend people the government considered opponents.

A UN agency is calling on authorities in Tajikistan to free lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov from prison, saying Yorov’s rights have been consistently violated since the moment of his detention.

Yorov was one of the very few lawyers in Tajikistan willing to defend people the Tajik government considered opponents. Yorov was also a vocal critic of rights abuses.

In September 2015, Yorov agreed to represent 13 high-ranking members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The IRPT had been represented in the Tajik government until March of that year, when it lost its last two seats in parliament. By late August, a Tajik court had banned the party; then, in September, following an armed conflict between government forces and a group loyal to the country’s deputy defense minister, a Tajik court declared the IRPT an extremist group and arrested the members of the party’s leadership who were still in the country. The authorities never publicly offered compelling evidence to substantiate accusations of links between the mutinous deputy defense minister and the IRPT.

On September 26, 2015, Yorov met with one of his clients. Two days later, he made a public statement saying his client was being tortured. Later that same day, Yorov was taken into custody. On October 6, 2016, a court in Tajikistan found Yorov and fellow human rights lawyer Nuriddin Makhamov guilty of fraud, swindling, arousing national, racial, local, or religious hostility, and extremism, and gave them long prison sentences.

Yorov was put on trial two more times with additional time added to his sentence, eventually totaling 28 years.

https://www.rferl.org/a/un-group-calls-on-tajik-government-to-release-imprisoned-rights-lawyer/29985133.html

WGAD decision on detention Yorov

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/tajikistan/63795/european-union-and-tajikistan-held-their-7th-cooperation-committee-meeting_en

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/06/11/submission-un-human-rights-committees-review-tajikistan

Tajikistan: ICJ calls for immediate release of imprisoned lawyer

UN committee offers grim view Tajikistan’s human rights record

https://akhbor-rus.com/-p2321-161.htm (RUSSIAN)

Kazakhstan: Адвоката, критиковавшего поправки в законодательство, лишили лицензии

21/05/19

Адвоката, критиковавшего поправки в законодательство, лишили лицензии

Ранее Сергей Сизинцев неоднократно подчеркивал, что минюст решил отозвать его лицензию из-за его критики в адрес поправок в закон об адвокатской деятельности

Критиковавший поправки в законодательство известный адвокат Сергей Сизинцев лишился лицензии в Северо-Казахстанской области.

«Суд решил исковое ГУ «Министерство юстиции РК» о лишении лицензии на занятие адвокатской деятельностью Сизинцева Сергея Васильевича удовлетворить, лишить Сизинцева С.В. государственной лицензии на занятие адвокатской деятельностью, выданной МЮ РК 8 апреля 2011года. Взыскать с Сизинцева в доход местного бюджета госпошлину в размере Т1263», – огласила во вторник решение судья Петропавловского городского суда №2 Лариса Крюкова.

Иск к Сизинцеву о лишении лицензии на занятие адвокатской деятельностью минюст в лице департамента юстиции СКО подал в феврале. Основанием послужили результаты проведенной проверки на предмет наличия судимости и занятия предпринимательской и иной оплачиваемой деятельностью адвокатами Северо–Казахстанской коллегии адвокатов.

https://time.kz/news/2019/05/21/advokata-kritikovavshego-popravki-v-zakonodatelstvo-lishili-litsenzii

Заявление Президиума Алматинской городской коллегии адвокатов

https://kaztag.kz/ru/news/kritikovavshiy-popravki-v-zakonodatelstvo-izvestnyy-advokat-lishilsya-litsenzii-v-sko

http://www.adilet.gov.kz/ru/news/nesoblyudenie-trebovaniy-zakona-osnovnaya-prichina-lisheniya-advokatskoy-licenzii

http://sotreport.kz/news/po-delu-advokata-sizintseva-naznachena-sluzhebnaya-proverka/

https://www.icj.org/kazakhstan-sergey-sizintsevs-disbarment-is-contrary-to-the-law-and-should-be-revised/ (ENGLISH)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fileadmin/speciality_distribution/public/documents/HUMAN_RIGHTS_LETTERS/Kazakhstan_-_Kazakhstan/2019/EN_HRL_20190325_Kazakhstan_Disbarment-proceedings-against-lawyer-Sergey-Sizintsev.pdf (ENGLISH)

https://www.icj.org/kazakhstan-disbarment-proceedings-against-a-leading-lawyer-sergey-sizentsev-should-be-immediately-dropped/?fbclid=IwAR3iqcBq8OTC5O1wgaLiQkXn6RxOzytlNNfeRdycydWdTBKfpMF7IN1V6TA (ENGLISH)

N.B.: Rights lawyer Sergey Sizintsev has been disbarred.  A complete court decision has not yet been released, but he stated that he will appeal the decision.

Image may contain: textLast week a trial observer with the IBA’s Human Rights Institute attended a court hearing in Kazakhstan. The court heard a case filed by the Ministry of Justice requesting the removal of lawyer Sergey Sizintsev’s license to practice law. Mr Sizintsev was accused of practicing law while holding a paid position as Executive Director of the Republican Bar Association between 2016-2018.

In court, he was represented by 18 fellow lawyers. A day later, the court delivered its judgement for Mr Sizintsev to be disbarred. The court stated that Mr Sizintzev violated the Law on Lawyers’ Activity and Legal Aid prohibiting legal practice alongside paid employment that is not related to educational, scientific or creative activities.

However, the court failed to take into account Article 33 (11) of the same Law, which explicitly allows lawyers to take up paid elective or appointive office in a bar association, Republican Bar Association or international public bar associations.

Mr Sizintsev was unexpectedly dismissed from his position as the Executive Director of the Republican Bar Association in October 2018. While Executive Director of the Republic Bar, Mr Sizintsev was very vocal about the independence of the legal profession in Kazakhstan and actively criticized a highly restrictive draft law proposed by the Ministry of Justice in 2017.

The IBAHRI is concerned about the growing number of incidents of intimidation and harassment of lawyers in Kazakhstan. Following the adoption of the Law on Lawyers’ Activity and Legal Aid in July 2018, the government continues to strengthen its control over the legal profession in Kazakhstan, thus distancing itself from the standards of the international legal community.

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 28/05/19)