FBE International Contract Competition 2020 – Bilbao, 27-29 March 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.

DÍA MUNDIAL DEL ABOGADO EN PELIGRO, 24.01.20

Matériel à disposition pour la Journée Mondiale 2020 que vous pouvez librement utiliser et diffuser sur vos différents supports / Material available for World Day 2020 that you can freely use and distribute on your various media:

  • A document relating to the World Focus Day Pakistan 2020 to be distributed online /un document relatif à la Journée mondiale focus Pakistan 2020 à diffuser en ligne :
  • Un dépliant/brochure sur le Pakistan/ à imprimer et à diffuser au format papier / A leaflet / brochure on Pakistan / to print and distribute in paper format
  • Un document explicatif général et la situation des avocats / A general explanatory document and the situation of lawyers
  • Une affiche à imprimer éventuellement en grand format / A poster to print, possibly in large format
  • Un film de présentation de l’OIAD (anglais/sous-titré français): https://we.tl/t-j663lGOGGw (disponible par ce lien pendant une semaine, n’hésitez pas à nous écrire si le lien a expiré nous vous en enverrons un nouveau) / • an OIAD presentation film (English / French subtitles): https://we.tl/t-j663lGOGGw  (available via this link for one week, do not hesitate to write to us if the link has expired we will send you a new one)

Lien vers le site de la Fondation Day of the Endangered Lawyer /  Link to the Day of the Endangered Lawyer Foundation website: http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/

Tous ces documents sont à télécharger en cliquant sur l’onglet de la langue choisie / All these documents are to be downloaded by clicking on the tab of the chosen language

FBE Human Rights Commission – Hong Kong Report

HongKong is a city of about 7 million inhabitants. It contends the title of Asia’s NewYork with Singapore. During the months of August, September and October 2019 has arisen a  surreal atmosphere. From June 2019 every week there are protests in various parts of the city against the central government of Beijing; moreover the governor of Hong Kong nominated by China, Carrie Lam, has promulgated the Extradition Bill. That shows haw is true that HK does not have a mayor but a governor appointed by China.

Even if HongKong is located China, it is a city where English and Cantonese are spoken because it was an English colony until 1997 and it should have a substantial autonomy from China for 50 years until 2047.

The Extraditon Bill is a law that would allow China to extradite Hong Kong citizens to the rest of China by depriving them of the independent justice that should exist in Hong Kong. In reality, many rights and freedoms are being debated as freedom of communication (whatspp and facebook are used only in hongkong) and freedom of the press, in fact  publishing in hong kong is free meanwhile in China is clearly censored (is known the story of the 5 publishers in Hong Kong arrested and made to disappear in China).

Thanks to the support of Dutch lawyers, who arrived in Hong Kong at the beginning of August, I came into contact with the (CHRLCG) China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.

All the Hong Kong lawyers that I met were very cooperative and through them I also had the chance to attend court hearings. I have  to thank the lawyer Ho.

I was in Hong Kong until about the middle of September. During the week the city experiences its widespread economy particularly in the Central district, and Soho, among glittering skyscrapers, art galleries and trendy clubs, work incessantly for managers, financial operators, lawyers.

At two subway stops, on the main island in the Causeway Bay and Wan Chai district, incessant protests take place every week starting on Friday. The same thing happens on the other side of the bay in the Kowloon peninsula.

As soon as I arrived I participated as an international observer in various protests and I was personally victim of totally unjustified firing of tear gas during a pacif demostration. The tear gas, in addition to hurting the eyes, causes a strong sense of suffocation and this forced everyone to always wear masks or gas masks. The international press was easily identifiable with yellow bibs and written “Media” or “Press”.

Supposedly, the protests lack of a leader and the organization of information about the protest sites they are easily traceable on the internet. I was in contact with journalists from Taiwan and Japanese photographers who I supported as an observer and I always had quick news on places and times.

I saw arbitrary police arrests and often I felt that the police were arresting at random. I saw on one occasion a person who was handcuffed to the ground was hit with at least 2 kicks.

During the weeks of protests many people have seen that I was a foreign and they showed me their friends’ medical certification, but I didn’t see these things directly. I was told that during the interrogations the police pointed a laser straight into an eye of the arrested person, as a form of torture to make people talk and that only at the end of the interrogation was the possibility to call a lawyer. The lawyer was never called immediately but only after 5/7 hours

On Sunday 18 August I witnessed an impressive demonstration of over one million people (the organizers say almost 2 million people) that against police brutality.

Over the weeks the situation got worse the protesters decided to attack also HongKong Airport, substantially blocking the various services, and recently clashes took place in the undergrounds.

The police steadly used water canon, tear gas and batons against protesters, who sometimes i had seen damage some government buildings and metro station.

At the beginning of September, shortly before I returned to Italy, the extradition law was officially revoked on 4 September.

For clarity five are the demands of the protesters

1) Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill

2) Retraction of the characterization of the “revolt”: the government initially characterized the protest of June 12 as “revolt”.

3) Release and exemption of arrested protesters: (when 1100 people were arrested, more than 2,000 arrests are now arrested in October. The average of 3 a day)

4) Establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into the conduct of the police and the use of force during the protest

5) Resignation of Carrie Lam and implementation of universal suffrage for free election in Hong Kong and not a governor appointed by the Chinese government

It is very difficult to synthesize the many experiences lived in HongKong but I tried to be telegraphic in order to eventually deepe it at another time.

I was very lucky to have know a amazing lawyer from Sri Lanka, a poet, human rights activist, publisher of “Article 2”, an extraordinary man of 75 who fights for human rights in Hong Kong. His name is Basil Fernando. In 2014, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, a Swedish international award called “a alternative nobel prize”. A award to “honor and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”

Basil Fernando at 75 is still the heart and brain of the AHRC.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) an independent, non-governmental organization, which seeks to promote greater awareness and realisation of human rights in the Asian region, and to mobilise Asian and international public opinion to obtain relief and redress for the victims of human rights violations.

They deal with at least 16 countries in Asia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal; Cambodia, parts of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Burma. Now they are treating the tragedy of Rohingya refugees between Bangladesh and Mymair.

I cannot forget the support of the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong. The help and collaboration started with Basil Fernando and Zaman from Bangladesh and all the other people in  AHRC that with great lack of economic means but with very strong motivations work evrey day for human rights. We will have to look  to support them and also organize a fundraiser.

The moment I write the situation is probably worse. On 1 October, large-scale demonstrations were held on the anniversary of the Republic of China, with an 18-year-old student protester shot by the police with a bullet.

Trying to curb the protests, an anti-mask law was activated on October 4th, so masks were forbidden for protesters as they would avoid identification. Anyone who wears a mask at legitimate gatherings and marches, unlawful or unauthorized assemblies or in revolt could be sentenced up to a maximum of one year of imprisonment and a fine of HK $ 25,000 (just under 3,000 euros).

The above relationship was made in collaboration with our friend F.Christian Di NARDO, Criminal Lawyer and Human Rights Lawyer, Bologna / Italy.

FBE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Situation of Lawyers in the Philippines

UIA (Internationa Association of Lawyers) has been following the situation of lawyers in the Philippines for a few years.

Lawyers have been indeed the target of increasing attacks and are facing an oppressive working environment. At least 42 lawyers and prosecutors have been killed between July 2016 and September 5, 2019 including 24 practicing lawyers. Lawyers are also harassed and intimidated: they are subjected to (death) threats, surveillance, labelling, and other forms of attacks. Many of the lawyers have been “red-tagged” over allegations they support communist rebel groups.

Most of these attacks against lawyers took place as a result of discharging professional duties or are seemingly work-related. Especially at risk are lawyers representing people accused of terrorist or drug-related crimes, or those who are critical of the government’s policies or behaviour, such as journalists, political opposition leaders, and human rights defenders.

On March 14-18, 2019, an international delegation of lawyers representing various lawyers’ groups, including UIA, reported from Manilla after a fact-finding mission about the alarming situation on the Philippines.

Dutch Organization Lawyers for Lawyers initiated the statement signed for more than 150 bars, organizations and individual lawyers.

 UIA, Lawyers for Lawyers and more than 150 bar associations, international and national lawyer’s organizations, and legal professionals from 49 countries around the world called on the Government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to stop the attacks against and extrajudicial killings of lawyers and to end the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur.

The above report was made in cooperation with our Friend Ms Romina BOSSA ABIVEN Human Rights and Legal Profession Project Assistant, Paris/France.

FBE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – TRIAL OBSERVATION PROJECT TURKEY

The FBE Human Rights Commission, not indifferent to the situation observed in Turkey over the years, began the Turkey Trial Observation Project over two years ago.

The FBE has expressed its support for the rule of law and freedom of speech in Turkey for many years. Over the past 10 years, six resolutions have been adopted in support of respect for human rights in Turkey in the widest sense of the area. FBE members regularly support all initiatives to protect human rights in Turkey by participating as observers our colleagues’ lawyers and journalists trials in Turkey.

The FBE Human Rights Commission has also actively joined these activities not only by participating in the trials as the observers, but also by conducting various discussions with other lawyers, officials, taking part in bilateral meetings, petitioning various types of petitions, supporting resolutions or appearing as a speaker at congresses in Turkey (“Dark Side of the Moon”/September 2018).

 “In July 2019 lawyers from France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands (Peter Hanenberg/Nardy Desloover) observed several hearings in Istanbul (Turkey).                  All cases were criminal cases against lawyers who are accused of terrorist related activities. In the three particular cases, the lawyers involved all share the same line of defence: they were representing and defending clients and – therewith – were doing nothing else than fulfilling their duty as a defence lawyer.

Since (roughly) 2011 there have been numerous cases against professionals who have allegedly acted in favour of terrorists or criticasters of the Turkish regime. Amongst them lawyers, but also journalists, academics, judges, union leaders et cetera.  Lawyers have to face the governmental starting point: If you help or assist someone who is critical or even a (supposed) terrorist, you yourself are acting as a terrorist. Thereby the Havana Rules (f.i. article 18: Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes…) are trampled or – more mildly worded – ignored.

Many lawyers have been (or still are) detained in pre-trial custody for many years (up to 5 years!). Recently, in March 2019, lawyers were convicted to long time prison sentences (up to 19 years!). Evidence often looks thin and stories about manipulation of proof are persistent. Exercising one’s legal profession is a hazardous activity.

Especially because the eminent function of the legal profession is at stake, it is of great importance to monitor hearings against lawyers. It is important to show solidarity with the lawyers involved and to hammer continuously on the importance of the (independent) legal profession and its essential role in the rule of law.

Therefore, trial observation is only a part (though important) of the unfolded activities. Discussions are frequent with the local and national Bar associations, as well as with representatives of all kind of law firms. Impartiality – not regarding the rule of law, but – in the cases pending is important. Though all foreign lawyers sympathise with the accused, we don’t express prepossession. We do not interfere in the question whether a persecuted lawyer is guilty or not guilty, but we do express and emphasize that identification of a lawyer with his or her client is a gross negation of the Basic Principles as laid down in the Havana Rules. Drawing attention to those principles can never be excessive.”

The above report was made in cooperation with our Friend Mr Nardy Desloover (lawyer  in Rotterdam/the Netherlands) who works tightly with us.

 

La FBE soutient les avocats tunisiens

A l’invitation de l’ordre national des avocats, les avocats tunisiens organisent le 27 septembre 2019 une journée de colère sur l’ensemble du territoire devant les juridictions du pays.

Ce mouvement est mené en protestation contre les déclarations du président de l’Association des Magistrats Tunisiens, qui accuse les avocats du collectif de défense des martyrs, Bélaïd et Brahmi d’avoir envahi de force le bureau du procureur de la République et saccagé son contenu. Le bâtonnier de l’ordre des avocats, Brahim Bouderbala, a fermement contesté ces accusations en déclarant qu’ un groupe de magistrats entend engager un bras de fer avec les avocats.

La FBE entend apporter tout son soutien au barreau tunisien, membre observateur de la FBE et appelle à un dialogue constructif entre avocats et magistrats.