Tag Archives: USA

USA/Ecuador/Canada: In New Attack, Chevron Trying to Disbar Lawyer Who Helped Win Historic $9.5 Billion Judgment After 8-Year Trial

March 1, 2018

Faced with a series of stunning legal setbacks in the world’s largest environmental case, Chevron is now trying to orchestrate what appears to be a politically-motivated disbarment of American human rights lawyer Steven Donziger after he helped indigenous and farmer communities win a $9.5 billion judgment against the company over the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil waste onto ancestral lands in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest.

The move comes at a time when Chevron is stepping up its attacks on the indigenous groups and their lawyers following three consecutive unanimous defeats in Canadian appellate courts – including one by Canada’s Supreme Court – in a country where the Ecuadorians are threatening to seize vital company assets to pay for their court-mandated clean-up. Just days ago, Chevron publicly attacked prominent Canadian attorney Alan Lenczner after he won the right to depose a high-level corporate official over what appear to be billions of dollars of irregular payments by the company’s Canadian subsidiary to the governments of Nigeria and Indonesia.

Chevron also recently lost an effort in the Ontario Court of Appeal to impose a $1 million costs order on the indigenous groups in an effort to prematurely end the asset seizure litigation. A three-judge panel unanimously criticized the company for trying to end-run the law rather than deal with credible allegations it had committed fraud both in Ecuador and the United States, all of which has a led to a criminal referral of the company to the U.S. Department of Justice.












Turkey/Council of Europe: Turkey’s judiciary must protect rule of law, says Europe diplomat

February 16, 2018

Europe, Turkey need each other says Jagland

Europe’s top human rights court will be flooded with claims from Turkey unless the country’s judiciary steps up to protect the rule of law, a top European diplomat warned on Friday.

Thorbjørn Jagland, head of the Council of Europe, travelled to Ankara to urge judges and prosecutors to stand up for fundamental freedoms following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s sweeping crackdown on dissent.

Mr Jagland encouraged the Turkish judiciary to “hold firm” to the principles of democracy and warned that failure to do so would cast Turkey’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights into doubt. “Overloading the court will only raise the question of Turkey’s capacity or willingness to uphold the convention,” he said. “This simply will not work.”

The warning from Europe’s human rights watchdog underlines the concern in western capitals over the rule of law in Turkey under the leadership of Mr Erdogan. Although the Council of Europe is separate from the EU, its work is followed closely by EU member states.

Turkey is a member of the council and, in principle, must abide by decisions made by its most important body, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights. But the fallout from the attempted coup of July 2016 has threatened to put Turkey and the court on a collision course.

Mr Jagland’s visit came just weeks after Turkey was plunged into a judicial crisis when an order by the country’s top court was overruled by a series of less senior judges.





https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_le-conseil-de-l-europe-met-ankara-en-garde-sur-l-etat-d-urgence?id=9841786 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.dw.com/es/consejo-de-europa-llama-a-turqu%C3%ADa-a-respetar-tribunal-constitucional/a-42611398 (ESPANOL)

http://www.trt.net.tr/espanol/mundo/2018/02/16/jagland-europa-y-turquia-se-necesitan-mutuamente-912161 (ESPANOL)

USA: GOP Takes Another Ruthless Step to Control Federal Courts

February 16, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans ended a century-old tradition Thursday that will accelerate the appointment of right-wing federal judges in purple and blue states, where they will preside over thousands of cases that will never reach the Supreme Court.

The move, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa, was the most egregious partisan intervention in the judiciary since Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked 2016 hearings on President Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, which would have given the court a center-left majority. (After the 2016 election, conservative Neil Gorsuch was appointed and confirmed.)

“Michael Brennan gets voted out of Senate Judiciary Committee along party lines despite fact that he refused to acknowledge implicit racial bias in the justice system,” tweeted Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Obama. “Grassley kills the blue slip tradition with this vote. Brennan voted out over objection of a home-state senator.”






Serbia/USA: 2 US Lawmakers Nominate Serbian Activist for Nobel Prize

February 2, 2018

Natasa Kandic, who founded a nonprofit to document human rights violations amid the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize by two U.S. lawmakers.

Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who is chairman of the Helsinki Commission, an independent government agency that promotes human rights, military security, and economic cooperation, and Representative Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who is the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, nominated Kandic, of the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Center.

Kandic, who founded the nonprofit in 1992, has won numerous international accolades for her humanitarian work.

“As members of the U.S. Congress, we helped shape the international response to the conflicts, which erupted in the Western Balkans, and we continue to support and encourage post-conflict recovery in the countries of the region,” read the nomination letter, jointly drafted by the legislators and submitted to the Norway-based awards organization Wednesday.

“This recognition would further the cause of peace and reconciliation in this and other troubled regions of our world,” they said.

Trained as a lawyer, Kandic has been widely credited with furnishing to U.N. war crimes tribunal officials in The Hague critical evidence on Serbia’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.





https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nata%C5%A1a_Kandi%C4%87 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ard-wien.de/2018/02/02/natasa-kandic-fuer-friedensnobelpreis-nominiert/ (DEUTSCH)


Egypt/Day of the Endangered Lawyer/USA: The International Day of the Endangered Lawyer

January 24, 2018


On 24 January of each year, legal associations and international human rights organizations around the globe observe The International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. Each year, the occasion highlights not only the general issues internationally, but also a specific country of concern. This year, that country is Egypt.

Below, please find a variety of documents about the day and its history.





Judge Delissa Ridgway, FBA ILS Board Member and Senior Counselor, was instrumental in coordinating a program with the New York City Bar: https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=IND012418

Leaders in the legal community have issued the following statements in support of this day of observance:


https://legalworld.wolterskluwer.be/fr/nouvelles/domaine/droit-en-general/8eme-journee-de-l-avocat-en-danger-en-egypte-et-ailleurs/ (FRANCAIS)

http://avocats.be/sites/default/files/22.01.2018%20-%20Communiqu%C3%A9%20de%20presse%20-%20Journ%C3%A9e%20de%20l%27avocat%20en%20danger.pdf (FRANCAIS)


Egypt/Day of the Endangered Lawyer/USA: Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: 2018 International Day of the Endangered Lawyer

January 24, 2018

Image result for american bar association

The American Bar Association joins the international community in recognizing the 2018 Day of the Endangered Lawyer. Now in its eighth year, the day is set aside to pay tribute to legal professionals around the globe who work to ensure that governments respect human rights obligations and commitments, often at great personal risk.

Courageous lawyers and judges face risks in countries throughout the world – risks ranging from harassment, surveillance and intimidation to disappearance, detention, prosecution, torture, imprisonment and worse.

As representatives of the justice system, lawyers and judges are essential to any society and merit particular attention and protection. Their unique role is enshrined in fundamental precepts of international law and norms. The longstanding U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers call for all steps necessary to ensure that lawyers are able to fulfill their professional responsibilities without intimidation, harassment or improper interference and to ensure that they are adequately safeguarded when their security is threatened. Similarly, the U.N. Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary underscore the importance of appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of judges and to protect them from threats or interferences from any quarter or for any reason. In addition, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders establishes the right of defenders, individually and in association with others, to offer legal assistance or other relevant advice in defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the declaration further provides that states are to ensure an environment where defenders can do their work without fear of retribution.

The protection of lawyers, judges and human rights defenders is a responsibility of all lawyers. On this day, as we mark the annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the ABA salutes and stands in solidarity with the inspirational lawyers, judges and other human rights defenders around the world who serve and champion justice and the rule of law.




Argentina/Iran/Israel/USA: Congress urges probe into murder of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman

January 20, 2018

Nisman was found dead after accusing former president of concealing Iran’s role in 1994 Jewish center bombing

Resolutions urging for a “full and just investigation” into the death of the Jewish-Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman were introduced in the US House of Representatives and the Senate on Friday, reported the Times of Israel.

Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican and Democrat Ted Deutch, initiated the resolution alongside a companion motion introduced in the Senate by Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.

The Argentine prosecutor who was found deceased shortly after accusing a former president of covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, did not die by suicide – rather, he was murdered, a federal judge Julian Ercolini said last month.

Nisman was found dead in January 2015 with a gunshot wound to his head days after filing a report accusing Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other figures close to the government. He accused them of protecting high-ranking Iranian officials from prosecution over the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA) in exchange for oil and other trade benefits.


An Argentine court and western intelligence services support Nisman’s claims that Iran and Hezbollah were involved, however Tehran has vociferously denied the claims.









http://www.impulsobaires.com.ar/nota/260158/ricardo_saenz_deberia_abrirse_una_causa_que_investigue_el_encubrimiento_de_la_muerte_de_nisman/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.terra.com.br/noticias/mundo/nisman-foi-vitima-de-crime-de-lesa-humanidade-diz-ex-esposa,a84e9fb012d74b50a3ee52de6e5b43a3wqyv9isw.html (PORTUGUES)