Tag Archives: UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Maldives: UN rights expert dismayed by failure to review convictions of Supreme Court justices

June 28, 2018

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The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision not to accept the application made by two convicted Supreme Court justices to have their case reviewed, saying he was concerned by reports of interference and serious irregularities in the judicial procedures that led to the convictions.

The two justices were arrested on charges related to influencing official conduct of judges in the wake of the 1 February 2018 Supreme Court decision which ordered the reinstatement of 12 suspended Members of the Parliament and release and retrial of nine political leaders. Following the arrest of the two justices, the remaining three justices issued a new order, allegedly at the request of the President of the Maldives, overturning its previous unanimous ruling to free the nine leaders.

Both justices were convicted by the Criminal Court in May, and affirmed with a reduced sentence by the High Court in early June. The cases were filed for appeal in the Supreme Court on 13 June, but rejected.

“I am dismayed by the Judges Council’s decision not to accept the application made by Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, despite the reported procedural irregularities in the lower courts,” said Garcia-Sayan. “Due process issues included the use of closed hearings without valid justification; use of protected witnesses without due explanation;  and insufficient time given to the defence to prepare and submit a witness list, further hampered by the difficulties faced by the defendants in accessing their lawyers in Maafushi Prison.”











The Philippines: Philippines Duterte tells U.N. human rights expert: ‘Go to hell’

June 3, 2018

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a U.N human rights expert who said the country’s judicial independence was under threat to ‘go to hell’, warning against interference in domestic affairs.

The Philippine Supreme Court voted last month to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom Duterte had called an “enemy” for voting against controversial government proposals, citing violations in the way she was appointed.

Her dismissal is sending a chilling message to other supreme court judges and members of the judiciary, Diego García-Sayán, special U.N rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said on Friday.

“Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” Duterte told a news conference late Saturday night, prior to leaving for an official visit to South Korea.

The outspoken Philippine leader is known for defying international pressure and his diatribes against critics.

In particular, he has railed against former U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, for criticizing the bloody war on drugs, his signature public safety project.

Sereno, the first chief justice to be removed by her peers, had voted against several of the Duterte’s proposals including the extension of martial rule in the volatile southern Philippines.

















https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1118878/philippines-duterte-dit-a-un-expert-de-lonu-daller-au-diable.html (FRANCAIS)

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

http://www.tgcom24.mediaset.it/mondo/filippine-presidente-duterte-insulta-esperto-onu-vai-all-inferno_3143802-201802a.shtml (ITALIANO)

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The Philippines: Judicial independence in Philippines is under threat, says UN human rights expert

June 1, 2018

A UN human rights expert has expressed grave concerns about public threats issued against the Philippines’ Chief Justice by the country’s President, saying her dismissal, that followed those threats, is sending a chilling message to other supreme court judges and members of the judiciary posing a serious threat to judicial independence.

On 11 May 2018, the Supreme Court voted 8-6 to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno from her job on the grounds she had failed an ‘integrity test’. Chief Justice Sereno was appointed the country’s top judge position in 2010.

“The decision of the Supreme Court was issued two days after the President of the Philippines publicly threatened the Chief Justice by saying that she was his enemy and that she should be removed from her job or resign,” said Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

“The unprecedented decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines seems directly related to the threats made against the Chief Justice in relation to her professional activities in defence of the independence of the judiciary.”













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(Stand With CJ Facebook, 2/6/18)

The Philippines: 5 groups file complaint against PH pressure on lawyers, judges

April 18, 2018

In what is expected to irk President Duterte anew, five groups of lawyers have filed a complaint before the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the supposed unjust interference of the state on judges and lawyers in the country.

Neri Colmenares (JOHN JEROME GANZON/Manila Bulletin File Photo)

In today’s press conference in Quezon City, the lawyers’ group denounced the apparent pressure exerted by the President on lawyers and judges who go against his wishes.

The groups unilaterally narrated how the recent actions of the Philippine government have negatively created an impact that put the independence of the judges and lawyers in peril.

Former party-list Rep. Nerie Colmenares of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said the President’s supposed vindictive acts is more evident in his support for the impeachment, quo warranto case and his verbal attacks against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The actions by the President against the Chief Magistrate according to Colmenares had sent “chilling effects’’ on the judges and lawyers.

Using the presidential platform, Colmenares chided the President who is the head of the executive branch of government for publicly issuing threats against Sereno who is his co-equal being in the judicial branch.

Calling Sereno ignorant, stupid, coward and dumb, Colmenares said the President continued his tirade against the Chief Justice upon his arrival from a four-day state visit in China last April 13.

Duterte had lambasted Sereno for telling the judges whom he said were involved in illegal drugs not to surrender to authorities without warrants of arrests issued against them.

Colmenares in reaction to Duterte’s declaration that he is immune from suit agreed but at the same time insisted that he is “not immune from investigation’’.

The lawyers added that the President had not spared Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo president of the 40,000 strong Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) from his tirades.







New UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of Judges and Lawyers

January 13, 2017

The newly appointed person serving the post is Diego García-Sayán (Peru) (starting with January 2017). The special rapporteur reviews individual complaints and reports on attacks to the independence of judges and lawyers. It appeals to governments, conducts country visits and presents annual reports. This position was created by the UN in 1994 in response to increasing reports on attacks on the independence of judges, lawyers and court officials. The position is assumed by the Human Rights Council within the UN and the mandate has been renewed several times since 1994.

The office of the Special Rapporteur gathers information on relevant cases through a survey, the results of which have been published in an annual report from August 2016. It contains a summary of recent activities of the Special Rapporteur with notes on the international rights for lawyers, references to court cases and recommendations to governments, bar associations and international legal professional associations.


UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers: “States should respect and protect lawyers who promote and defend human rights defenders”

October 21, 2016

Human Rights House Foundation

The report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Judges and Lawyers will be presented to the UN General Assembly today, 21 October 2016. The report gives clear recommendations on the actions States and bar associations should take to ensure the independence of lawyers.

The Special Rapporteur recalls that “a significant number of attacks against lawyers and restrictions to the free and independent exercise of the profession” have been brought to the attention of successive Special Rapporteurs. She calls on States to “acknowledge, respect and protect the status of lawyers who promote and defend human rights defenders,” and to “adopt domestic legislation that recognises the vital and important role played by lawyers in upholding the rule of law and promoting human rights.”

Read the report of the Special Rapporteur in English or in Russian.

Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy at Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), commented: “Lawyers are instrumental in the protection of human rights and human rights defenders, but they face increasing threats to themselves and to their work. This report by the Special Rapporteur highlights these threats and elaborates on the need to support these lawyers. It outlines strong guarantees and immunities for lawyers working on human rights and gives clear recommendations on to implement them. States and bar associations must implement these recommendations, and the international community must ensure that they do so.”



https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/068/03/PDF/G1606803.pdf?OpenElement (ENGLISH)

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/068/04/PDF/G1606804.pdf?OpenElement (FRANCAIS)

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/068/06/PDF/G1606806.pdf?OpenElement (ESPANOL)

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/068/01/PDF/G1606801.pdf?OpenElement (ARABIC)

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/068/02/PDF/G1606802.pdf?OpenElement (CHINESE)

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/068/05/PDF/G1606805.pdf?OpenElement (RUSSIAN)