UN Human Rights Council Resolutions on the Independence of the Judiciary and Lawyers

June 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

During its session from 6-23 June 2017, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolutions on the independence of the judiciary and lawyers, inluding the following:

1. Calls upon all States to guarantee the independence of judges and lawyers and the objectivity and impartiality of prosecutors, as well as their ability to perform their functions accordingly, including by taking effective legislative, law enforcement and other appropriate measures that will enable them to carry out their professional functions without interference, harassment, threats or intimidation of any kind;

6. Emphasizes that the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers provide that lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their function;

7. Emphasizes that lawyers should be enabled to discharge their functions freely, independently and without any fear of reprisal;

10. Expresses its deep concern about the significant number of attacks against lawyers and instances of arbitrary or unlawful interference with or restrictions to the free practice of their profession, and calls upon States to ensure that any attacks or interference of any sort against lawyers are promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated and that perpetrators are held accountable;

11. Calls upon States, in collaboration with relevant national entities such as bar associations, associations of judges and prosecutors, and educational institutions, to provide adequate training, including human rights training, for judges, prosecutors and lawyers, both on initial appointment and periodically throughout their careers, taking into account regional and international human rights law and, where applicable and relevant, the concluding observations and decisions of human rights mechanisms, such as treaty bodies and regional human rights courts;

16. Calls upon States to ensure that legal provisions that are or have been adopted in relation to counter-terrorism or national security are consistent with the international obligations of the State concerning the right to a fair trial, the right to liberty, the right to an effective remedy for violations of human rights and other provisions of international law relevant to the role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers;

The full document can be download here.

UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers – Advance Report

June 16th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

In the advance report of 9 June 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur presents his perspective on the mandate.

The Rapporteur identified four broad areas of concern: (1) judicial indpendence; (2) corruption, organised crime and the indepdence judges and lawyers; (3) protection of the legal profession; and (4) restrictions to the right to a fair trial and due process of law.

Concerning the ‘protection of the legal profession’, the Rapporteur states:

89. The Special Rapporteur takes note of the existing barriers and threats faced by lawyers around the world and will analyse this issue in future reports.

119. Bar associations, institutions that have a vital role to play in upholding professional standards and ethics, must assume their responsibilities in this respect and embrace both the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

127. The Special Rapporteur encourages all States, bar associations and lawyers’ organizations to endorse the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and to disseminate their content, so that they may be fully known by all authorities and members of the legal profession.

131. It is the responsibility of States to ensure security and physical protection for all members of the legal profession in order to guarantee the independence of the judiciary. One of the priorities must be to set out a protocol that would allow detecting and dealing with such circumstances.

The Report has been prepared for the Human Rights Council on 6-23 June 2017.

Links:

Post of 13 January 2017 on the UN Special Rapporteur.

UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Western Balkans: Criminal Law Reform Assessment Report, 2016

June 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Introduction to the Assessment Report:

The Assessment Report presented in this publication was produced as a result of the Criminal Law Reform Project (CLRP), implemented from July 2015 to September 2016, by the Bar Association of Serbia in partnership with the National Chamber of Advocacy of Albania, Bar Association of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), Kosovo Bar Association and Macedonia Bar Association, as well as the civil society organization Partners for Democratic Change Serbia. (…)

It addresses the main problems defense advocates and their clients face in criminal proceedings in the Region. It further compares legal frameworks and practices in these systems and refers to international standards in that regard. The Report recommends changes to the respective provisions and practices that would enable better protection of rights of the accused and provide conditions for guaranteeing the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings. Therefore, this report represents a useful advocacy tool for the bar chambers in the Region in their future advocacy efforts for reform of criminal proceedings. (…)

The Report can be downloaded here.

Statement by the Spokesperson of the EU External Action Service on the reported abduction and illegal detention of Azerbaijani nationals residing in Georgia

June 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The alleged abduction and illegal arbitrary detention of Azerbaijani nationals, including human rights defenders, residing in Georgia followed by their arrest and prosecution in Azerbaijan, demands swift, thorough and transparent investigation…continue reading the article here.

ECHR new system for single judge decisions with more detailed reasoning

June 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

ECHR has launched a new system for single judge decisions with more detailed reasoning for inadmissible cases.
As from June 2017 instead of a decision-letter, applicants will receive a decision of the Court sitting in single judge formation in one of the Court’s official languages and signed by a single judge, accompanied by a letter in the relevant national language.
This decision will refer to specific grounds of inadmissibility.

Find more information here.

Human Rights Commissioner comments on the situation in Turkey

June 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Third party intervention of the Commissioner before the Court of Human Rights – On 25 April 2017, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, published his written observations concerning 34 cases related to events which have occurred since August 2015 in the context of counter-terrorism operations and curfews in South-Eastern Turkey. In his conclusions, the Commissioner notes: ‘there are clear indications that human rights defenders working on the human rights situation in South-Eastern Turkey during the curfews and counter-terrorism operations and assisting alleged victims in seeking justice have been subjected to various forms of reprisals and intimidation in retaliation for their legitimate activities’.

Council of Europe – Moldova Action Plan 2017-2020

May 31st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

(c) Council of Europe

The Council of Europe (CoE) launched its Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova 2017-2020 during an official visit of the CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland in the country.

The Action Plan outlines a programme that aims ‘to bring Moldovan legislation, institutions and practice further in to line with European Standards and the areas of human rights, the rule of law and democracy.’ The action plan provides for continuous cooperation between the Council of Europe  and Moldovan authorities to ensure the effective implementation of the existing legislative frameworks and to enhance the capacities of national institutions.

The proposed Justice actions will address, amongst others, capacity building activities in close cooperation with the National Institute of Justice and the Moldovan Bar Association. The capacity building activities target judges, prosecutors and lawyers. The objective is to enhance their knowledge and skills concerning the national implementation of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Find more information about the visit here.

(c) Council of Europe

(c) Council of Europe

ECHR Factsheet on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Counsel

May 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Jointly with the Grand Chamber judgement on the case Simeonovi v. Bulgaria, the European Court of Human Rights Press Unit published on 12 May 2017 a factsheet with an overview of cases related to police arrest and assistance of a lawyer, based on judgements on art. 6 § 3 (c) – right to legal assistance and art. 6 § 1 – right to a fair trial. You can find the factsheet here.

ICJ Principles on the Role of Judges and Lawyers in relation to Refugees and Migrants

May 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has developed and published a document that aims to better secure human rights and the rule of law in the context of large movements of refugees and migrants. The Principles on the Role of Judges and Lawyers in relation to Refugees and Migrants has been prepared in consultation with senior judges, lawyers and legal scholars and it is intended to help judges and lawyers, as well as legislators and other government officials. Read more about the document here. 

Violations of lawyers’ rights in Georgia

May 2nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

On 26 April the CCBE addressed a letter to several authorities in Georgia regarding cases of violations of lawyer’s rights. The letter is based on reports from the Georgian Bar Association detailing circumstances in which lawyers were abused while discharging their functions and harassed or intimidated while defending their clients. The CCBE shared the concerns of the Georgian Bar Association and stands by their call to the Georgian Parliament to tackle the ongoing attacks against lawyers. Read the full letter here.