April 12, 2019
Today, the ICJ expressed concern at the criminal proceedings against Andriy Domanskyi, a lawyer practicing in Ukraine, known for representing individuals facing political prosecution and defending journalists.
The ICJ has called on the Ukrainian authorities to drop any criminal proceedings which may result from the identification of the lawyer with his clients and to ensure that the lawyer’s rights are protected and that he can continue to carry out his professional activity without improper interference, intimidation or threat.
On 5 April Domanskyi was issued a note of suspicion in a criminal proceeding reportedly initiated in 2013 concerning the “privatization of municipal premises”.
Criminal proceedings were initiated one day after the commencement on 4 April of a trial of his client Kirill Vyshynskyi, Chief Editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine recently changed with high treason and a number of other crimes.
Domanskyi considers these criminal proceedings against him are linked with his professional activity and are a means of putting pressure on him as a result of work on this high-profile case.
Ukraine: criminal proceedings against lawyer Andriy Domanskyi raise concerns
April 4, 2019
At the 19th World Congress of the ICJ held in Tunisia on 23-24 March, some 100 distinguished judges, lawyers came together to adopt the Tunis Declaration on Reinforcing the Rule of Law. The Declaration was published today. Watch the Congress video clip.
The Tunis Declaration reaffirms the ICJ’s unyielding commitment to defend and advance the Rule of Law and human rights at a time when commitment to them by States and other powerful actors appears to be wavering.
It stresses that not only are human rights and the Rule of Law indispensable to the betterment of the human condition and a dignified life for all people, but also must be harnessed and developed to address such contemporary challenges as catastrophic climate change and the effects of digital technology.
The Declaration sets out key elements of the Rule of Law and human rights and aspects of their application to the independence of judges and lawyers; access to justice and accountability; security; equality and non-discrimination; and civil society space and fundamental freedoms.
https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Universal-ICJ-Tunis-Declaration-Advocacy-2019-ENG.pdf (N.B. pp 3-5 ON “INDEPENDENCE OF JUDGES AND LAWYERS”)
March 6, 2019
Today, the ICJ expressed concern at the initiation of disbarment proceedings by the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan against Sergey Sizintsev, former Executive Director of the National Bar Association and the newly-elected head of the Scientific-Consultative Board of the National Bar Association.
The official ground for disbarment of Sizintsev is his work as the Director the National Bar Association in 2016-2018 while continuing his legal practice at the same time.
On his facebook public account, however, Sizintsev alleged that this initiative is not related to the officially stated grounds, and that in fact continuing to practice while working as Director of the Bar Association is clearly permitted by the Kazakhstan’s law. Rather, he alleges, he is being pursued for his criticism of the law “On lawyers’ activity and legal aid” as well as his public statements in different international and national fora in regard to issues related to the independence of the legal profession.
The ICJ recalls that freedom of expression and association, in particular, constitute essential requirements for the proper and independent functioning of the legal profession and must be guaranteed by law and in practice.
December 14, 2018
The Egyptian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan and drop the charges against him or otherwise charge him with a recognizable crime consistent with international law, said the ICJ today.
Mohamed Ramadan was arrested, by plainclothes security officers on 10 December 2018, after attending proceedings concerning the renewal of a detention order against one of his clients. The client, Ayman Mahmoud, himself had been evidently detained for political reasons, and charged with joining and promoting an “illegal group” and “spreading false news on Facebook and Twitter to harm State interests.”
Following his arrest, Mohamed Ramadan was detained overnight in the National Security Agency Office. Ramadan’s family and lawyers did not know of his whereabouts until he was brought before the Alexandria Prosecutor on 11 December 2018.
According to information available to the ICJ, the Prosecutor charged Ramadan with joining a terrorist group, promoting its ideology including through social media and possession of publications supporting the group’s purpose (Case No. 16576/2018 Montaza), and ordered that he be detained for 15 days.
The charges appear to be to intended to prevent Ramadan’s exercise of freedom of expression and work as a lawyer. One of the lawyers who attended Ramadan’s interrogation on 11 December 2018 informed the ICJ that Ramadan had been informed by the Prosecutor to stop representing political detainees.
November 23, 2018
The ICJ is concerned at increasing government interference with the independence of the legal profession, including through intimidation and harassment of the leadership of the National Bar Association and individual lawyers in Kazakhstan.
In the last two months, there have been a series of resignations in the leadership of the National Bar, including Anvar Tugel, ex-President of the National Bar Association who publicly announced that his resignation was the result of “disagreement with the reform proposed by the Ministry of Justice”.
He explained that the “reform” aimed to remove the leadership of the Bar Association.
In his public statement, Tugel points out that several presidents of the local bar associations, faced pressure.
Indeed, Yakubenko Raisa and Vladimir Zolotov presidents of Aktyubinsk and Pavolodar bar associations respectively faced disbarment proceedings in the Kazakhstan courts, initiated by the Ministry of Justice.
The disciplinary charges against them are related to their administration of the bar associations.
November 13, 2018
An international conference on the topic of “The role and independence of lawyers: comparative perspectives” organized by the Azerbaijani Bar Association, the Council of Europe and the International Commission of Jurists will be held on November 15-16.
Report informs citing the Association that heads of the foreign ministries of 15 foreign countries, senior officials of international organizations, as well as heads of the supreme governing bodies of Azerbaijan will take part in the event.
Follow LIVE tomorrow as from 9.15am (#Baku: GMT +4) the international conference on “The role and#independence of #lawyers: comparative prospectives” starting tomorrow morning. It is organised by the Council of Europe jointly with the International Commission of Jurists and the Bar Association of Azerbaijan. International experts and prominent lawyers representing the leadership of national bar associations from a wide range of countries will be present as well as Mr Christophe Poirel, Director of Human Rights, Council of Europe and Mr Azer Jafarov, Deputy Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan and others. #StayTuned, follow and share: https://bit.ly/2DlQbHV
(Council of Europe – Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law Facebook, 14/11/18)