REMINDER TO THE BAR MEMBERS – FBE MEDIATION COMMISSION

Dear President, Dear Colleague,

I am contacting you as President of the Mediation Commission of the European Bars Federation (FBE) in relation with the research being carried out from the Barcelona Bar Association since 2018. This work consisted of a comparison of different laws and mediation regulations that exist within the different Members of the FBE.

We would like to thank the Bars who, within the framework of this project, sent us the legislation in mediation. With all the information that was gathered, analyzed and synthesized, we are planning on proceeding with the second phase of the project. However, in order to fully complete the research, collaboration from your Bar is essential.

The ultimate objectives are to produce a comprehensive report that provides a holistic view of the mediation in Europe, the main challenges facing it and possible solutions.

With these aims in mind, we have prepared a questionnaire, which you will find attached to the present email. This questionnaire is structured into three sections, with the intention of collecting concrete and concise information in order to complete this second phase of the project.

We would be grateful if your Bar could kindly cooperate in answering this questionnaire before July 31st, 2020, so that we can begin working on the final report to be presented on the occasion of our General Congress to be held in Paris next 1-2 October.

We sincerely look forward to your responses.

Thank you very much for your collaboration.

With kind regards.

Mª Eugènia Gay
President

Webinaire en ligne le jeudi 1er octobre 2020 de 10h à 13h

Nous sommes heureux de vous informer que nous organiserons un webinaire en ligne le jeudi 1er octobre 2020 de 10H à 13H qui se concentrera sur la situation actuelle de la profession juridique en Turquie.

Si vous avez des points urgents que vous souhaiteriez voir figurer à l’ordre du jour, nous vous remercions de bien vouloir nous les adresser au plus tard le lundi 21 septembre prochain.

La Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe propose à tous les Barreaux d’Europe d’organiser une minute de silence en honneur à notre Consœur Ebru Timtik le 7 septembre à 12 heures

À la suite de la mort de notre consœur Ebru Timtik en détention en Turquie et l’hospitalisation en état critique de notre consœur Nasrin SOTOUDEH en Iran, La Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe propose à tous les Barreaux d’Europe d’organiser une minute de silence en honneur à nos consœurs, le 7 septembre à 12 heures.

En annexe vous trouverez un texte qui pourrait être lu préalablement. 

Cela marquera la solidarité de tous les Barreaux européens avec la cause de la défense de la liberté et l’indépendance des avocats.

N’hésitez-pas à en parler dans la presse.

 

 

Hier, Ebru Timtik est morte…

Hier, Ebru Timtik est morte.

Cette mort se distingue de bien d’autres.

Elle est morte pour avoir défendu le droit d’assurer la Défense des détenus devant les tribunaux, de les défendre avec toutes les garanties rappelées par la CEDH.

Elle est morte sans pouvoir être assistée et sans le réconfort de ses proches.

Son combat est celui de tous les avocats d’Europe, notamment pour assurer la sécurité de son Confrère Aytac Unsal.

La Commission des droits de l’homme de la FBE entend rester mobilisée et attentive aux conditions de vie de notre Confrère toujours emprisonné et enjoint à toutes les institutions européennes et internationales d’intervenir auprès du gouvernement turc pour une solution positive en faveur de notre Confrère.

Lettre ouverte au Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies et au Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux Droits de l’Homme en soutien au Dr Denis MUKWEGE, prix Nobel de la Paix

La Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe apporte son soutien au Dr Denis MUKWEGE, Prix Nobel de la Paix dont la vie est menacée et a adressé, avec d’autres organisations nationales et internationales, une lettre ouverte au Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies et au Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux Droits de l’Homme.

Lawyers on hunger strike near death

The undersigned organisations have been following recent developments in the cases of human rights lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who have been on hunger strike since February 2020. On 5 April 2020, the Turkish Day of the Lawyer, Timtik and Ünsal announced that they would persist in their hunger strike even if it leads to their deaths. Their health is deteriorating quickly, and they are now being held in hospital.

Background

Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal are part of a group of eighteen lawyers who have been convicted and sentenced to long-term imprisonment. They are all members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği, ÇHD) and People’s Law Office (Halkın Hukuk Bürosu), known for their representation of clients who are considered opponents of the Turkish government. In a profoundly unfair trial, these lawyers have been sentenced to many years of imprisonment for alleged terrorist- related offences. Ebru Timtik has been sentenced to 13 years and 6 months and Aytaç Ünsal to 10 years and 6 months, both for membership of a terrorist organisation.

From the beginning of their trial, many incidents occurred that raised concerns about the impartiality and independence of the proceedings. For instance, the judges who initially ordered the release of the lawyers from pre-trial detention were removed from the case, and the released lawyers were re-arrested; some witnesses’ identities were kept anonymous and they testified remotely by video link system (SEGBIS), not in person, which prevented their identity or free will to testify from being verified. It also prevented the defence from being able to effectively examine the witnesses. In addition, the charged lawyers were frequently interrupted or escorted out of the courtroom during the hearings. After challenging the Chief Justice on the grounds of lack of impartiality, the lawyers’ requests for recusal of the bench were repeatedly rejected by the court, and their unjust treatment continued.

On 20 March 2019, the judgement was delivered. An appeal to the Istanbul Regional Court of Appeal was rejected in October 2019. A further appeal before the Supreme Court is pending.

Hunger strike

Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal are on hunger strike to strengthen their demand for fair trials and the administration of justice in Turkey.  Turkey is bound to uphold the right to a fair trial according to a   number of international treaties of which Turkey is a signatory, including Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Timtik and Ünsal are demanding that these obligations are observed not only for themselves, but also for all others who are on trial or in prison without having their fair trial rights respected.

Their wish is to ensure that the Turkish authorities observe the rule of law in Turkey. We support them unequivocally in these demands and objectives and aim to ensure that the world is aware of their plight. We urge the Turkish authorities to address these demands without delay, starting by giving the detained lawyers in this case the opportunity to await the outcome of their current appeal in freedom. We also urge the Supreme Court to conclude the appeal of 18 lawyers with due consideration being given to the serious violations by the lower court of the lawyers’ rights to a fair trial and the protections to which they are entitled as lawyers.

We are gravely concerned for the safety of Timtik and Ünsal and urge that the Turkish government act quickly to ensure their rights.   

 

 This statement was endorsed by:

The Foundation day of the Endangered Lawyer

The Dutch League for Human Rights 

Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe

European Bars Federation (FBE)

European Bars Federation Human Rights Commission

Avocat.e.s Européennes Démocrates / European Democratic Lawyers

The Defence of the Defence Commission of the Barcelona Bar Association

International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Lyon Bar Association

Asociación Americana de Juristas

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

The International Legal Intervention Group

Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific
Nepal Lawyers Association

European Criminal Bar Association

Norwegian Bar Association

European Association of Lawyers

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

The Hellenic Union of Progressive Lawyers. 

European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights

Arab Lawyers Association

Defense Sans Frontiere-Avocats Solidaires (DSF-AS)

Osservatorio UCPI Avvocati Minacciati

Rotterdam Bar Association

FBE International Contract Competition 2020 – ONLINE 15-16 October 2020

The FBE International Contract Competition (the Competition) is an
educational event in which young lawyers from different jurisdictions
meet each other to simulate commercial contract case.

The basis for the Competition is a commercial contract case which
contains a situation, focused on a digital business, concerning
conditions of partners that would like to cooperate. Young lawyers
(national “law firms” – “teams”) from different jurisdictions form pairs
and negotiate the contract.

The goals of the Competition include building relations between
lawyers from different jurisdictions and enhancing international
cooperation skills in the field of law.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal – Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals

The Presidents of nine Turkish Bar Associations including those in Turkey’s largest cities of İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir in a video message called for the release of lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who have been on a death fast since April 5, demanding a fair trial for the two attorneys.

Timtik and Ünsal have been in prison since September 12, 2018 on charges of membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP-C). On March 20, 2019, the Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court sentenced Timtik to 13 years, six months and Ünsal to 10 years, six months. According to the ruling the two were accused of “communicating the organization’s messages to captured members and acting as couriers.” Their cases are currently before Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals.

In their messages the presidents of the bar associations asked the Supreme Court of Appeals to allow Timtik and Ünsal to have a fair trial and release them. İzmir Bar Association President Özkan Yücel asked, “To those who are keeping their files at the Supreme Court of Appeals for a long time, don’t you realize Ebru and Aytaç are dying?”

The two lawyers had taken on important cases such as a mining disaster in Soma that took the lives of 301 miners; the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who was hit on the head with a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer during the June 2013 anti-government protests in Turkey that are known as the Gezi protests; and the death of Engin Çeber in prison due to torture.

On June 4, 2020 Istanbul Bar Association President Mehmet Durakoğlu said “there was no concrete evidence and that the entire case was based on the testimony of a secret witness who has been used by the prosecution in a variety of cases”.

Last month, the secret witness, İ.Ö., sent a petition to Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals and said his testimony should not be taken into consideration due to his mental problems, including hallucinations. The petition was submitted by İ.Ö.’s attorney and included medical reports that support his claim.

The Presidency of the FBE in its meeting of 27 July, 2020 decided to support the Turkish Lawyers Ebru Tomtik and Aytac Unsal for their critical situation demanding a fairly judgement to the local Authorities.

Artur Wierzbicki

Human Rights Commission FBE

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – “ISTANBUL CONVENTION” Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

Countries in Europe that:

  • have signed and ratified the convention (green), among them Poland
  • signed the convention (yellow)

Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, colloquially the “Istanbul Convention” – a convention for the protection of human rights developed by the Council of Europe in to combat violence against women and domestic violence, which was opened for signature on 11 May 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Convention aims to combat violence, protect victims and « end the impunity of perpetrators ». Until 2020, it was signed by 45 countries and the European Union. As of March 14, 2012, Turkey became the first country to ratify the convention, followed by a further 33 countries between 2013 and 2019.

The document provides a framework for legal prevention of all forms of violence against women at the European level, as well as for the prevention, prosecution and elimination of violence against women and domestic violence. The convention also provides a special monitoring mechanism to ensure that its provisions are effectively implemented by the parties that have ratified it.

The Convention consists of 81 articles divided into 12 chapters. The structure of the document is based on four issues: prevention; protection and support for victims; prosecution of criminals and integration policy. There are a number of specific ways of doing things in each area. The convention also lays down obligations to collect data and support research in the field of violence against women (Article 11).

The preamble refers to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as the international human rights treaties of the United Nations and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In art. 2 of this Convention indicates that these provisions apply in peacetime as well as in situations of armed conflict in the field of violence against women and domestic violence.

What’s important:

Article 3 defines key terms:

« Violence against women » is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women, including any act of violence on the basis of sex, which causes or may lead to physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts , situations of coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, both in public and private life;

« Domestic violence » means any act of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence within the family or household, or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator and victim share a residence;

‘Gender’ means the socially constructed roles, behaviors, actions and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women or men;

« Gender-based violence against women » means violence directed against a woman on the basis of her gender or such violence that affects women in particular;

Article 4 prohibits a number of types of discrimination by stating: « The implementation of the provisions of this Convention by the Parties, in particular measures to protect the rights of victims, shall be guaranteed without discrimination on the basis of: biological sex, cultural and social gender, race, color, language, religion, political opinion and other, national or social origin, membership of a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, health condition, disability, marital status, refugee or migrant status or other ”.

In July 2020, the Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, declared the start of the process of formal withdrawal from the convention. He said the treaty is harmful because it requires schools to educate children about gender in an ideological way and it devalues biological sex.

In Warsaw, hundreds of people demonstrated against the denunciation of the convention.

On July 27, 2020, the Ministry of Justice sent an application to the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy to start work on the termination of the Istanbul Convention.

On July 26, the statement was issued by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (who adopted the document), Marija Pejčinović Burić: “The announcements of the Polish government that Poland should terminate the Istanbul Convention are alarming. The Istanbul Convention is the Council of Europe’s fundamental international treaty to combat violence against women and domestic violence – and that is its sole purpose. If there are any disagreements on the Convention, we will resolve them through constructive dialogue. Exiting the Istanbul Convention would be regrettable and would be a huge step backwards in protecting women from violence in Europe. »”

The foregoing indicates that we must be vigilant at all times that no one tries to limit or exclude the human rights of both women and men in any way.

Artur Wierzbicki

FBE Human Rights Commission

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Turkey’s multiple bar associations law

Turkey’s Constitutional Court last days rejected an appeal for a stay of execution of a recently enacted law changing the structure of bar associations and allowing for multiple bar associations in a province.

The disputed law is expected to strengthen small provincial bars at the expense of the large associations in major cities that are perceived to be more critical, and it was passed despite strong objections by lawyers who took to the streets to protest what they viewed as a political encroachment on their profession.

The plan was also criticized by rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists, who described it as a calculated move to divide the legal profession along political lines and diminish the biggest bar associations’ role as human rights watchdogs.

Also Turkey’s Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal from the main opposition party to abrogate a coronavirus release law that allowed some 90,000 inmates to be released due to the pandemic while excluding political prisoners

It is excluded prisoners who were charged with terrorism, an arbitrarily and widely used charge in Turkey, especially lately for dissidents, including judges, prosecutors, journalists, lawyers and artists.

Artur Wierzbicki

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION