Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Widow of Belfast solicitor murdered during The Troubles seeks damages against UK government

06/01/23

The widow of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is to seek damages against the UK government for remaining in breach of a legal obligation to carry out an investigation into his murder, the High Court heard today.

A judge was also told that Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris will provide a timeframe next week for taking a new decision on whether to order a public inquiry.

The developments came in a challenge by the lawyer’s family to an ongoing failure to establish such a probe.

Mr Finucane, 39, was shot dead by loyalist paramilitary gunmen in front of his wife Geraldine and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989.

His family have campaigned ever since for a public inquiry to establish the full scale of security force collusion in one of the most notorious assassinations during the Troubles.

In 2019 the UK Supreme Court declared that previous investigations into the killing failed to meet standards required by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Since then, Mrs Finucane has mounted further legal battles over the Government’s response to that finding.

In November 2020, former Secretary of State Brandon Lewis announced there would not be a public inquiry at this stage because he wanted other police review processes to run their course. He was ordered then to pay £7,500 damages to Mrs Finucane for the excessive delay in reaching that position.

[…]

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/courts/widow-of-belfast-solicitor-murdered-during-the-troubles-seeks-damages-against-uk-government-42267580.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/crime-law/courts/2023/01/06/widow-of-murdered-belfast-solicitor-pat-finucane-to-seek-damages-against-uk-government/

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-64053473

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/pat-finucane-government-remains-in-breach-of-legal-obligation-to-investigate-murder-of-belfast-solicitor-court-rules-3962936

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

Northern Ireland/UK: British government remains in breach of legal obligation to investigate Pat Finucane murder

21/12/22

The British Government remains in breach of its legal obligation to carry out a human rights-compliant investigation into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Scoffield quashed a decision not to establish a public inquiry at this stage into the full scale of security force collusion with loyalist paramilitaries responsible for the killing in February 1989.

He also held that former Secretary of State Brandon Lewis unlawfully failed to reconsider that position following the conclusion of a police review process.

Despite stopping short of ordering a public inquiry, he directed that a fresh decision must now be taken on how to address the continued investigative deficiencies within a set timeframe.

The verdict came in a challenge by the murdered lawyer’s widow, Geraldine Finucane, to the failure to set up a public inquiry.

According to the judge she finds herself “in a sorry situation” nearly four years after the UK Supreme Court declared previous probes into the killing failed to meet the standards required by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Justice Scoffield said: “I have no hesitation in concluding that the United Kingdom government, represented in these proceedings by the Secretary of State, remains in breach of Article 2 on the basis of the ongoing delay in completing an investigation which satisfies the requirements of that provision.”

Pat Finucane’s murder was among the most notorious of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

UDA gunmen burst into his north Belfast home and shot him 14 times in front of his wife, who was injured by a ricocheting bullet, and three children.

His family have campaigned ever since for a public inquiry into levels of collusion with the killers.

Mr Finucane was described in court as the victim of a scheme where loyalist paramilitaries were infiltrated, resourced and manipulated to target those identified for assassination.

Counsel for his widow argued that only a public inquiry will uncover the full extent of a state-operated policy of “extrajudicial executions”.

In February 2019 the Supreme Court identified a continued breach of the requirement to hold an Article 2-compliant investigation.

Since then, Mrs Finucane has mounted further legal battles against the government’s response to that ruling.

[…]

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-64053473

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/courts/pat-finucane-murder-uk-government-in-breach-of-legal-obligation-over-investigation-judge-rules-42235603.html

https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2022-06-15/pat-finucanes-widow-challenges-decision-not-to-hold-public-enquiry

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

https://www.patfinucanecentre.org/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/colin-harvey-critics-seek-delegitimise-irish-unity-research

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/30/news/colin_harvey_signals_determination_to_continue_work_following_criticism_from_queen_s_colleague_liam_kennedy-2920990/

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

UK: Colin Harvey: A target has been put on my back, says Queen’s academic

10/11/22

A Queen’s University Belfast academic has said a campaign of intimidation has put a “virtual target” on his back.

Colin Harvey is a professor of human rights law at the university.

He said it was particularly since he engaged with work about Ireland’s “constitutional future” that he had been targeted.

Queen’s previously said it had ongoing engagement with police over staff welfare following concerns about the safety of Prof Harvey.

Prof Harvey, who is a board member of the Ireland’s Future organisation, said he was being vilified “for having what is essentially a Good Friday Agreement conversation”.

The organisation was set up to advocate for and promote debate and discussion about the future of Ireland.

It has held a number of events to discuss planning for a united Ireland, most recently in the 3Arena in Dublin.

Speaking to BBC News NI’s Good Morning Ulster programme, Prof Harvey said he had been caricatured and vilified.

“I have been the subject of what is a sustained, systemic campaign of intimidation and harassment that has circled around Queen’s – but not only around Queen’s – in relation to my work,” he said.

“That’s been really repetitive lying, repetitive disinformation and it links back to a previous conversation about people questioning my commitment to a peaceful and democratic society here in the past, present and future.

“What that has effectively done is it has put a virtual target on my back.”

[…]

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-63568745

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-northern-ireland-63572290

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/qub-academic-colin-harvey-claims-virtual-target-on-his-back-42133301.html

https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/22171488/

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/04/news/social_media_posts_targeting_colin_harvey_include_threats_to_behead_queen_s_academic-2884294/

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/10/news/prof_colin_harvey_overwhelmed_by_support_in_face_of_vilifying_campaign_by_unionists-2900337/

https://belfastmedia.com/human-rights-lawyers-calls-on-queen-s-university-to-defend-its-staff-after-professor-experiences-intimidation-and-harassment

https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20221109133959996

https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/professor-colin-harvey-subjected-to-threatening-and-abusive-commentary

https://www.4ni.co.uk/northern-ireland-news/290906/sf-condemn-dup-s-sustained-attacks-on-academic-lawyer

https://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/02/news/leading_irish-american_academic_voices_support_for_professor_colin_harvey_following_sustained_online_attacks-2882285/content.html

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/10/news/edwin_poots_denies_vilifying_colin_harvey_after_challenging_the_embattled_academic_over_ira_violence-2901183/

https://www.irishnews.com/business/2022/11/11/news/government_in_northern_ireland_is_least_trusted_in_uk_says_deloitte_survey-2901864/

UK: Queen’s University law professor in eye of DUP leader has faced intimidation, harassment

31/10/22

A QUEEN’S University law professor has faced “a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment over several years”, it was claimed last night.

The KRW law firm issued a statement relating to a complaint over the use of a university logo on a study.

DUP leader Sir Jeffery Donaldson raised concerns about a pending publication by Professor Colin Harvey with the university’s vice-chancellor Ian Greer.

The Lagan Valley MP is objecting to the inclusion of Queen’s logo in the study by Prof Harvey and barrister Mark Bassett called Making the Case for Irish Unity in the EU.

Prof Harvey is a board member of Ireland’s Future, the group behind a major event this month in Dublin and one to be held at the Ulster Hall in Belfast in November.

The statement issued by KRW said approval for the use of the university logo “was explicitly sought in advance and was definitively authorised, by the appropriate authority in QUB”.

It added that: “In particular, and following a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment over several years, we expect the university to issue a definitive public statement in support of Professor Colin Harvey and thus acknowledge his significant contribution to research, education and administration over decades.

“We urge the university to defend its academic staff and further we underline that legitimate inquiry, scholarship and the ability of staff to conduct research, teach, speak, and publish without interference or penalty must be protected and maintained.

[…]

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/10/31/news/university_professor_in_eye_of_dup_leader_has_faced_intimidation_harassment_-2880346/

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-63458062

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/qub-condemns-attacks-on-professor-colin-harvey-and-emphasises-importance-of-academic-freedom-42107767.html

https://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/04/news/social_media_posts_targeting_colin_harvey_include_threats_to_behead_queen_s_academic-2884294/content.html

https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2022-10-31/university-working-with-police-over-threatening-commentary-against-professor

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/01/17/news/prof-colin-harvey-welcomes-outpouring-of-support-following-online-abuse-2561869/?param=ds441rif44T

https://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/news/northernirelandnews/2022/11/01/news/police_probe_online_threats_and_abuse_aimed_at_qub_s_professor_colin_harvey-2881215/content.html

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/politics/prof-colin-harvey-qub-logo-row-university-defends-academic-after-legal-letter-demands-action-3900005

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/michelle-oneill-warns-abuse-of-qub-academic-could-spark-violence-and-demands-dup-stop-dangerous-attacks-42107767.html

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/education/prof-colin-harvey-dup-leader-jeffrey-donaldson-meets-qub-over-universitys-logo-on-united-ireland-report-3898125

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2022/10/28/news/unionists_accuse_queen_s_university_belfast_of_partisan_politics_over_united_ireland_report-2878297/

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/2022/08/24/where-next-for-the-constitutional-conversation-about-a-united-ireland/

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/attacks-against-human-rights-advocate-threaten-academic-freedom-northern

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-60866799

https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/academics-defend-human-rights-expert-colin-harvey-after-abuse

UK: Government attacks on human rights lawyers are putting them in ‘serious’ danger

22/07/22

Prominent international human rights lawyer, Caoilfhionn Gallagher has received death threats including one saying she will be murdered like Pat Finucane

Amnesty urges ministers to step back from the irresponsible verbal attacks on lawyers and judges

‘We fear reckless rhetoric from government ministers is putting a target on the backs of lawyers. In Northern Ireland, we have seen where such dangerous talk can lead’ – Patrick Corrigan

Amnesty International is calling on UK government ministers to step back from rhetoric attacking lawyers and judges after a prominent London-based Irish barrister reported receiving death threats in recent weeks.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a senior barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, says an unknown individual had been sending photographs of her and suggesting she will be murdered like Pat Finucane, who was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries at his home in 1989.

Speaking at an event in Dublin to mark the awarding of the Sakharov Prize to the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Ms Gallagher also revealed she had been attacked at her chambers in London.

[…]

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/uk-government-attacks-human-rights-lawyers-are-putting-them-serious-danger

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/british-lawyers-defending-hong-kong-tycoon-say-they-receive-threats-2022-07-07/

https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/caoilfhionn-gallagher-qc-condemns-philippines-court-over-increased-prison-sentence-for-journalist-maria-ressa

UK: ‘Beheading’ tweet sent by a loyalist to Queen’s human rights law professor

17/07/22

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is investigating a series of “intimidating” tweets sent to a Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) academic by a loyalist, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Three complaints have been made by Colin Harvey, a professor of human rights law in the School of Law at QUB, about multiple social media posts in February, June and earlier this month.

PSNI Superintendent Gerard Pollock said the complaints relate to “social media comments directed towards an individual”.

“An investigation has commenced to establish if any offences have been committed and enquiries are continuing,” he said in a statement.

Professor Harvey, a fellow of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies, has been repeatedly criticised on social media for expressing his views on constitutional matters, Brexit, the Protocol, the Conservative Party and unionism.

He has regularly tweeted about social issues affecting a post-Troubles Northern Ireland, his favourable view of a united Ireland and his criticisms of loyalism and unionist leadership.

The Sunday Independent has viewed dozens of tweets directed at him by mostly anonymous social media accounts claiming to be from a British, loyalist or former security forces background.

When Prof Harvey suggested it “was time” to bring the Union “to an end”, a Twitter user replied: “We used to behead traitors like this.” Another wrote: “Colin Harvey should be called off.”

Outspoken loyalist Jamie Bryson, who has connections to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), has tweeted about Prof Harvey almost 50 times.

When the academic wrote: “The Irish government needs to take direct responsibility for enabling the collective effort of preparing for the future of a shared island,” Mr Bryson, a regular commentator on some BBC Northern Ireland programmes, was quick to respond.

In a tweet, he wrote: “QUB making pretty clear they have moved beyond policy and research and are now partisan activists.”

Prof Harvey said the online abuse he has faced “often feels like a coordinated campaign” and appears to be closely linked to his academic work and public engagement on questions around the constitutional future, in particular the option of a united Ireland.

[…]

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/beheading-tweet-sent-by-a-loyalist-to-queens-human-rights-law-professor-41845718.html

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/attacks-against-human-rights-advocate-threaten-academic-freedom-northern

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-60866799

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/northern-ireland-authorities-must-protect-professor-colin-harvey-and-academic

https://fr.postsus.com/international/757174.html (FRANCAIS)

(ESPANOL)

UK: Law Society of Northern Ireland defends Troubles lawyers from government criticism

04/07/22

The Law Society of Northern Ireland has criticised the UK government over “attacks on lawyers” representing victims and survivors of the Troubles.

In a short statement, the Law Society said it had formally lodged concerns about the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation Bill) and its “non-compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights”.

The controversial bill, which is opposed by Northern Ireland political parties, the Irish government and human rights organisations, will end criminal prosecutions, inquests and civil actions related to killings during the Troubles.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis is currently facing a defamation lawsuit from Belfast-based KRW LAW LLP over allegedly defamatory comments he made last month about lawyers representing clients in legacy cases.

The Law Society said: “The Society reiterates its call for attacks on lawyers by members of the government in relation to this bill, and other matters, to cease immediately.

“Solicitors provide vital support to victims and survivors of the Troubles to access truth and justice and should not come under attack for doing their jobs.”

https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/ni-law-society-defends-troubles-lawyers-from-government-criticism

https://www.lawsoc-ni.org/statement-on-the-northern-ireland-troubles-legacy-and-reconciliation

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/northern-ireland-legacy-bill-victims-b2114805.html

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-law-firm-takes-defamation-action-against-brandon-lewis-41788126.html

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/belfast-law-firm-taking-defamation-action-against-brandon-lewis-over-troubles-legacy-article-41787849.html

CCBE: Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice

11/04/22

Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice at the occasion of the CCBE Brussels Standing Committee on 1 April 2022 – Discours de Didier Reynders, commissaire européen à la justice, à l’occasion du comité permanent du CCBE à Bruxelles le 1er avril 2022

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/can-the-council-of-europe-help-us-with-our-problems/5112171.article

https://www.ccbe.eu/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders_en

https://www.lja.fr/l-oeil-sur/la-convention-europeenne-pour-les-avocats-sprint-final-694154.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders_fr

CCBE plea for legal means to protect profession

20/12/21

CCBE plea for legal instrument to protect profession

The CCBE has said that that attacks against the legal profession now take place in countries where a certain level of respect for the rule of law exists, including EU or Council of Europe member states.

In its end-of-year newsletter, body has reiterated its support Council of Europe work for the establishment of a new legal instrument on the profession of lawyer.

The CCBE has welcomed the recent decision of the Council of Europe to set up a new committee on the protection of lawyers to draft the new legal instrument.

Binding

The organisation believes that there is a clear need for adopting a new binding legal instrument on the profession of lawyer “accompanied by an implementation mechanism in order to guarantee the proper administration of justice and the respect of the rule of law”.

The goal of the legal instrument will be to strengthen the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practise the profession without prejudice or restraint.

The CCBE believes that none of the existing non-binding instruments cover comprehensively all the issues such as:

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2021/12-december/ccbe-plea-for-legal-instrument-to-protect-profession

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://rm.coe.int/eng-examen-de-faisabilite-d-un-instrument-juridque-europeen-couv-texte/1680a22790

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/convention-europeenne-sur-la-profession-davocat/ (FRANCAIS)

May be an image of map and text that says "4|CCBE-INFO In 2021 the ccBe sent 103 letters in support of endangered lawyers in 38 countries around the world Russia China Rhilippines 10 Belarus China sent 5-10lett sent letter 22othecours venezuela 9% Murder Attempt Death 38% Arrest Detention Prison Prosecution Torture 38% 38 Threats Assault Harassment Ill-treatment| Travel Ban Break-in Abduction 15% and attack against the independance Deprivation of the right to exercise the legal profession the legal profession"
European #Lawyers Day 2021: The Council of Europe attaches particular i

Afghanistan: Taliban justice ministry takes lawyer licensing control from Afghanistan Bar Association

22/11/21

Afghanistan dispatches: Taliban justice ministry takes defense lawyer licensing control from Afghanistan bar association

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul offers his observations on a Taliban move to take direct regulatory control of defense lawyer licensing, shifting that from the country’s bar association. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

The Taliban have changed the regulatory authority of the defense lawyers from the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association to the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of Justice of the Taliban announced yesterday that all defense lawyers and those who had a license from the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association should come to the Ministry of Justice for obtaining a license. Affairs related to the defense and licensed lawyers used to be regulated by the “Advocate Law” in the country. The Advocate Law provides that the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association shall issue licenses for the applicants. In Afghanistan, those who graduated from law and sharia are eligible for a license.

According to the Advocate Law, obtaining a license in Afghanistan is subject to an exam like other countries.

The Ministry of Justice has warned licensed lawyers and those who are applying to obtain a license to come to this ministry for the license, otherwise they will not be able to work as a defense lawyer.

Bringing the defense lawyers under the structure of the Ministry of Justice means that the Taliban are looking to further regulate this area in the country. The Ministry of Justice have not provided any information whether or not the Advocate Law will be amended and/or the procedures for issuing the license will be changed.

The Ministry of Justice already have the Legal Aid Directorate under its structure and that is meant to provide legal assistance for the people who cannot afford hiring a lawyer to represent them before the courts. Adding a new department to regulate affairs related to the defense lawyers from the Bar Association, in my opinion, will decrease the donor funds and international assistance to this entity.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/11/afghanistan-dispatches-taliban-justice-ministry-takes-defense-lawyer-licensing-control-from-afghanistan-bar-association/

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/helena-kennedy-europe-schindlers-list-moment/

https://www.lawsoc-ni.org/joint-call-in-support-of-endangered-lawyers-in-afghanistan

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/greece-afghans-taliban-thessaloniki-afghanistan-b1962413.html

https://www.politico.eu/article/how-athens-became-the-unexpected-hub-for-afghan-women/

https://www.irishruleoflaw.ie/afghanistan_appeal

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/final-erasure-of-women-from-society-afghan-actor-slams-new-taliban-rules/67b42679-cd09-41a2-a9ce-e4dcc7f090b4?fbclid=IwAR3ZPhunqQN1Lc74Lih-hIZDvVB9KTmbPiOGkeVioQ35gQdr-yGbvtouAW8

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https://www.ibanet.org/Appeal-for-legal-assistance-for-Afghan-women-at-risk