Seconda videoconferenza “FBE Keeps in touch #2” 6 luglio 2020

Siamo lieti di informarvi che la FBE organizzerà una videoconferenza, “FBE Keeps in touch #2”, in modo da avere l’opportunità di parlare informalmente con i membri del nostro Ordine degli Avvocati su questioni di interesse e progetti futuri.

Questa sessione on-line si terrà il prossimo 6 luglio alle 17.00. 

Nel caso foste interessati a partecipare, vi saremmo molto grati se poteste inviarci l’indirizzo e-mail a cui dobbiamo inviare l’invito per la conferenza Zoom (fbe@fbe.org).

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Online conference on the persecution of lawyers in Turkey, June 11, 2020

Law Society of England and Wales, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, the Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project, Lawyers for Lawyers and the Izmir Bar Association jointly organized the conference with the title: ‘Lawyers rights in peril: A discussion on the challenges to the integrity of the legal profession in Turkey amid the ongoing hungers strikes of the lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal’

The conference brought together lawyers, representatives from the Ankara, Izmir and Diyarbakir bar associations and international lawyers organizations including Lawyers Rights Watch (Canada) and the FBE, and rights defenders to explore and discuss the current situation of lawyers in Turkey and their increasing persecution; the proposed reform of the bar associations and the threats to their independence; the ex-officio investigations that have been started against the bar associations of Diyarbakir and Ankara; the Parole Act exceptions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current situation of the two lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği, ÇHD) who have been on a hunger strike for over 100 days.

The conference was in two parts.

 Part 1, moderated by Tony Fisher, Law Society of England & Wales Human Rights Committee.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, Director of the IBA Human Rights Institute Key Note speaker introduced the theme. She addressed the problem of the rise of right wing populism as a response to globalism. Authoritarian regimes which do not protect the rule of law, and attack the free media. Human rights are abused in Turkey in the name of democracy because the government claims they were voted in. Populist leaders find scapegoats for what is going wrong. Gulensism is used as a cover for a power grab. Similar situation in South Africa, Malawi, Philippines and Hungary, where Orban has used covid19 as a power grab on the media. In the US Trump has denigrated the judicial system.

In Turkey there are mass trials, 4200 Judges and Prosecutors in detention, 634 of whom have been convicted and 500 administrative personnel have been dismissed. 34 lawyers’ associations have been shut down. The State of Emergency has been used against the justice system. There has been torture of lawyers.

There are now restrictions on how long a lawyer may spend with their client (law 6749), discussions between lawyers and their clients are tape recorded by the authorities, breaching legal professional privilege and confidentiality.

 Panel Discussion:  General introduction of the situation.  Ministry of Religious Affairs blaming homosexuals and pre – marital sex for the spread of HIV. When bar associations complain the government moves against the, currently introducing changes to the electoral system for bar associations.

 Ozkan Yucel of the Izmir Bar Association.

Lawyers in Izma are fighting fascism. After 9/11 security has been against freedom. Lawyers are the people who are raising tehir voices at the loss of freedoms. The government seeks to divide the big cities and divide the bar associations. The bar associations won’t let it happen, they will defend all lawyers. The consequence is that the bar association will be under investigation. They have tried to intervene in the trials of colleagues.  Spoke about the hunger strikes.

 Meltem Akyol Ankara Bar Association

  • Government has started investigations of the bar association because it published a report about torture and took a case against the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
  • The government is also introducing changes to the electoral procedure (proportional representation) to the bar associations without consultation. There are now multiple bar associations. At present every member is elected by their colleagues individually and not by a list as proposed with the government’s PR system. The government says that bar associations are political. If PR is introduced there will be discrimination, and access to justice will be denied.
  • Independent lawyers will not be able to work with lawyers who support the government.

Cihan Ayain, Diyarbakir Bar Association.

  • Reported on a chaotic situation, discrimination and crime rates are rising, there are very few fair trials. The ECHR functions very slowly and so there is little redress for human rights abuses.
  • The Bar Association is under investigation for press statements, and have received a noitice from the prosecutor. Press statements are used in evidence. This has a “freezing effect” on the activities of the lawyers. In general Turkish people have become more introverted and try not to see what is going on. Even a social media post can be an excuse for raid of houses and arrests. It is not just happening in the Kurdish part of the country, but all over Turkey.

 

Part Two  moderated by Irma Vandenberg.

Spoke about the altering of the law to prevent lawyers from doing human rights cases.

Didem Baydar Ünsal spoke about the hunger strikers, Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal.

Several Balikaya spoke about the dangers to lawyers who are in prison. The conditions are bad, and there is the risk of covid19.

This was followed by question and  answers.

There were contributions from Catherine Morris and Brian Samuels of Lawyers Rights Watch (Canada) and individual Turkish lawyers.

We were alerted to the recent Ministry of Interior leaflet accusing lawyers who are in prison  and on trial. The leaflet accuses the lawyers of being terrorists. The Supreme Court is still considering their cases and the verdict will come in  2 weeks. The Ministry is asking mainstream media to publish it. The leaflet is clearly designed to influence the decision in the trial.

  • We are asked: to take a stand against this interference with the trial.to put pressure through the EU, our own governments and the UN, through a collective effort rather than individual letters.
  • We were asked what are the best steps for escalation of advocacy, what steps within EU and UN?
  • We were asked which countries have the best levers with Turkey who may have influence.
  • How may we maximise the collective efforts of the human rights NGO’s?

 

 Recommendations for action:

International legal community and the human rights NGO’s should take joint efforts to put pressure on the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior Affairs to cease using the terrorist label against lawyers, to cease interference in the electoral procedure of the bar associations, to cease investigations of bar associations for their statements and legal actions against the government.

Ask the EU and the UN to take action.

Call on UK Government with its special relationship with Turkey to put pressure on Turkey

 

There were 74 participants in the conference.

FBE participants included:

  1. Artur Wierzbicki, President of the FBE Human Rights Committee / Bar Association of Poznan, Poland
  2. Professor Sara Chandler, QC (Hon) Past President of the FBE and member of the Human Rights Commission
  3. Peter Hannenberg, Dean of the Rotterdam Bar and member of the Human Rights Commission

 

Report from Conference 11 June 2020, done by prof S. Chandler

CONGRESSO GENERALE – Paris, 1-3 ottobre 2020

Caro Presidente,

Caro collega, 

 

Alla luce dell’attuale situazione globale con Covid-19, ci dispiace annunciare che abbiamo rinviato il nostro Congresso generale a Parigi, che inizialmente si sarebbe tenuto il 2-4 luglio, al 1°-3 ottobre.

Il Congresso si concentrerà sul seguente argomento: “L’accesso al diritto e alla giustizia: Gli ordini forensi europei e gli avvocati in prima linea”.

Sono lieto di informarvi che abbiamo inserito due nuove sessioni durante questo Congresso, ci congratuliamo con il Barreau de Paris per questa iniziativa, siamo certi che sarà stimolante e gratificante per tutti noi: 

Il Forum dei Gemellaggi

L’obiettivo di questo forum sarà quello di consentire agli Ordini degli Avvocati di avviare nuovi progetti di cooperazione o di rilanciare progetti di cooperazione preesistenti. In secondo luogo, proporre accordi di gemellaggio agli Ordini degli avvocati che non hanno ancora partecipato a progetti di cooperazione. 

Sessione speciale “Pro Bono: il mercato delle idee!

Un’altra sessione sarà dedicata alle iniziative Pro Bono degli Ordini degli Avvocati e degli avvocati, per scoprire le migliori e più innovative idee degli Ordini in materia e creare legami, contribuendo allo sviluppo di queste azioni di solidarietà. 

Ho il piacere di allegare il nuovo Save The Dates e vi saremmo molto grati se poteste già prenotare queste date in agenda.

 

Con i migliori saluti. 

Silvia Giménez-Salinas

Presidente della Federazione degli Ordini Forensi d’Europa

Webinar “Robot Lawyers & Virtual Law Firms” – 16th June 2020, 4.30 PM (CEST)

The webinar on Robot Lawyers & Virtual Law Firms is scheduled to be held online on 16th June, 4.30 PM (CEST).

Robot Lawyers & Virtual Law Firms: What will the future hold for us?

The webinar speakers have been organized by Committees for foreign affairs at the Attorney’s Regional Bar Association in Wrocław and Opole (Poland). The speakers will try to answer questions regarding legal technology and artificial intelligence used in a lawyer’s daily work. The webinar will be held  under the honorary patronage of the European Bars Federation (FBE).

We are pleased to announce that the speakers at this event will be María Jesús González-Espejo García (Managing partner at the Instituto de Innovación Legal), Guy Stern (CEO and founder of Legal Connection), Kamil Kwiecień (founder of Taskeo.co), Bartosz Frydel (co-founder of SlothEye) and Dr Konrad Szocik (Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Information and Technology Management, Rzeszow).

The webinar will be moderated by Izabela Konopacka (President of the FBE New Technology Committee), Joanna Wisła-Płonka (President of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Bar Council of Attorneys-at-Law) and Maria Dymitruk (Research Centre on Legal and Economic Issues of Electronic Communication). 

The webinar will take place on Zoom and it is free of charge.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to szkolenia@oirp.opole.pl or join us at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89899925874.

Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals – HELP online courses

The European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals in the European Union member states (HELP in the EU) supports legal professionals to enhance their capacities to effectively and coherently apply European fundamental rights standards at the national level and through cross-border training, mainly referring to the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights (the Charter), the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and relevant EU and Council of Europe Law.

The main objective of the Council of Europe Programme on Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) is to enhance the capacity of judges, lawyers and prosecutors, in all 47 Council of Europe member states and beyond, to apply the European human rights standards in their daily work. This is done through the HELP online courses that cover a range of human rights topics.

Legal professionals, who are at the forefront of the protection of human rights, must know the European human rights standards to apply them effectively. Therefore, they deserve high-quality training, which the Council of Europe HELP Programme provides. Furthermore, HELP online courses can be tailored to the different needs of countries, institutions and professionals. Since 2015, other professionals are increasingly interested in accessing HELP courses such as court staff, prison or probation officers or health practitioners.

In one sentence: HELP develops and implements online courses on human rights for legal and other (justice) professionals.

HELP’s three components are:

  • The HELP Network is the only European Network of national training institutions for judges, prosecutors and lawyers in the 47 CoE member States (and beyond).
  • The HELP Human rights online courses for self-study in the HELP e-learning platform. HELP courses (initially developed in English) have the potential to be translated into national languages, adapted to the national legal orders, and tested with selected categories of legal professionals.
  • A human rights training methodology to develop HELP courses that can be later taken in two distinct formats: self-study (free access in the HELP platform) or tutored in groups organised in co-operation with national training institutions or universities.

The Council of Europe HELP e-learning platform hosts our online courses. The courses are free and of the highest quality as they have been developed with the top experts of the Council of Europe, including lawyers from the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. Partners like EJTN, CCBE or FRA also contribute with their expertise.

The access to the HELP e-learning platform is free and open to anyone who creates an account on it. In January 2020 the HELP online platform had more than 43 000 active users.

The HELP online courses are interactive, visual and practical. They cover various human rights related topics, reflecting the different areas of work of the Council of Europe.

Videoconferenza “FBE Keeps in touch” 10 giugno 2020

Caro Presidente,

Caro collega, 

Spero che tu e la tua famiglia siate al sicuro e che vi manteniate in salute in questi tempi difficili.

Alla luce dell’attuale situazione globale con Covid-19, ci dispiace annunciare che abbiamo rinviato il nostro Congresso generale a Parigi, che inizialmente si sarebbe tenuto il 2-4 luglio, al 1°-3 ottobre.

Il Congresso si concentrerà sul seguente argomento: “L’accesso al diritto e alla giustizia: Gli ordini forensi europei e gli avvocati in prima linea”.

Sono lieto di informarvi che abbiamo inserito due nuove sessioni durante questo Congresso, ci congratuliamo con il Barreau de Paris per questa iniziativa, siamo certi che sarà stimolante e gratificante per tutti noi: 

Il Forum dei Gemellaggi

L’obiettivo di questo forum sarà quello di consentire agli Ordini degli Avvocati di avviare nuovi progetti di cooperazione o di rilanciare progetti di cooperazione preesistenti. In secondo luogo, proporre accordi di gemellaggio agli Ordini degli avvocati che non hanno ancora partecipato a progetti di cooperazione. 

Sessione speciale “Pro Bono: il mercato delle idee!

Un’altra sessione sarà dedicata alle iniziative Pro Bono degli Ordini degli Avvocati e degli avvocati, per scoprire le migliori e più innovative idee degli Ordini in materia e creare legami, contribuendo allo sviluppo di queste azioni di solidarietà. 

Ho il piacere di allegare il nuovo Save The Dates e vi saremmo molto grati se poteste già prenotare queste date in agenda.

Siamo lieti di informarvi che la FBE organizzerà una videoconferenza, “FBE Keeps in touch”, in modo da avere l’opportunità di parlare informalmente con i membri del nostro Ordine degli Avvocati su questioni di interesse e progetti futuri.

Questa sessione on-line si terrà il prossimo 10 giugno alle 17.00. 

Nel caso foste interessati a partecipare, vi saremmo molto grati se poteste inviarci l’indirizzo e-mail a cui dobbiamo inviare l’invito per la conferenza Zoom (fbe@icab.cat).

Non vediamo l’ora di superare questa complessa situazione e di incontrarvi presto!

Con i migliori saluti. 

Silvia Giménez-Salinas

Presidente della Federazione degli Ordini Forensi d’Europa

Draft amendments to Rules 36 and 44 D of the Rules of the European Court of Human Rights

At its administrative plenary session on 9 September 2019 the European Court of Human Rights provisionally adopted amendments to the Rules Court, following proposals made to it by the Court’s Standing Committee.

Draft amendments to Rules 36 and 44 D of the Rules of Court (approved by the Court on 9 September 2019)

Rule 36 – Representation of applicants

1. Persons, non-governmental organisations or groups of individuals may initially present applications under Article 34 of the Convention themselves or through a representative.

2. Following notification of the application to the respondent Contracting Party under Rule 54 § 2 (b), the applicant should be represented in accordance with paragraph 4 of this Rule, unless the President of the Chamber decides otherwise.

3. The applicant must be so represented at any hearing decided on by the Chamber, unless the President of the Chamber exceptionally grants leave to the applicant to present his or her own case, subject, if necessary, to being assisted by an advocate or other approved representative.

4. (a) The representative acting on behalf of the applicant pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Rule shall be an advocate authorised to practise in any of the Contracting Parties and resident in the territory of one of them, or any other person approved by the President of the Chamber.

(b) In exceptional circumstances and at any stage of the proceedings in the examination of an application, the President of the Chamber may, where he or she considers that the circumstances or the conduct of the advocate or other person appointed under the preceding sub-paragraph so warrant, direct that the latter may no longer represent or assist the applicant in those proceedings and that the applicant should seek alternative representation.

5. (a) The advocate or other approved representative, or the applicant in person who seeks leave to present his or her own case, must even if leave is granted under the following sub-paragraph have an adequate understanding of one of the Court’s official languages.

(b) If he or she does not have sufficient proficiency to express himself or herself in one of the Court’s official languages, leave to use one of the official languages of the Contracting Parties may be given by the President of the Chamber under Rule 34 § 3.

 Rule 44D – Inappropriate submissions by, or conduct of, the representative of a party

1. If the representative of a party in the proceedings makes abusive, frivolous, vexatious, misleading or prolix submissions, the President of the Chamber may […] refuse to accept all or part of the submissions or make any other order which he or she considers it appropriate to make, without prejudice to Article 35 § 3 of the Convention.

2. (a) The President of the Court may, in exceptional circumstances, where he or she considers that the conduct of the advocate, or of the person appointed under Rule 36 § 4 (a) so warrant, direct that the said advocate or other person may no longer represent or assist a party before the Court. Such exclusion order may be for a definite or indefinite period.

(b) Such a decision shall be reasoned and shall be taken upon a reasoned proposal by a Chamber, after the person concerned, the Government concerned, and if necessary, the Bar Association, are given the possibility of suggesting comments.

(c) Upon the reasoned request of the person concerned, the President of the Court may, after consulting the Chamber, the Government and any Bar Association concerned, restore the rights of representation.

As an association of Bar associations and Law Societies, the European Bars Federation has been invited to submit its comments (see below in French only) on these amendments. 

The Presidency of the European Bars Federation would like to thank warmly Sara Chandler on behalf of the Human rights commission, Florenzo Storelli on behalf of the Ethics commission and Julien Martin, Avocat at the Strasbourg Bar association, member of its Board and of the Human rights commission of the Strasbourg Bar Association, for their precious contributions.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – HUNGARY, HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION

The report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunji Mijatović, shows that the Hungarian government “violates human rights and employs anti-immigration rhetoric, which feeds xenophobic attitudes, fear and hatred.” The report’s conclusions state that “violations of human rights in Hungary have a negative effect on the entire system of protection (human rights) and the rule of law.” The report was based on meetings with members of the Hungarian government and representatives of civic organizations that took place during Mijatović’s five-day visit to Hungary in February 2020.

The report contains a crushing critic of the Hungarian asylum system, which is organized so as to “systematically reject all asylum applications”. The report also reads about the “abuse of violence” by the police against foreigners. Mijatović calls on Hungary to suspend its regulations introduced in connection with the migration crisis, which are currently not justified, because in 2018 only 671 asylum applications were filed in Hungary (in 2015 a wire-topped fence appeared on the southern border of the country with Serbia wire).

Commissioner Mijatović also alarms that the law in Hungary “stigmatizes and criminalizes” the activities of NGOs. In response to the Mijatović report, the Hungarian government has assured that the country “implements all international obligations regarding the protection of the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers.”In addition, Hungarian journalists have not pointed out for some time that some politically sensitive issues are absent from news sites of state TV channels and press agencies. Publishers working in the state media got a list of sensitive topics and any attempt to address them requires sending a sketch of the material to superiors.The heads of state-owned Hungarian media also banned quoting reports from leading human rights organizations.

Hungary is currently subject to the EU’s Seventh Article procedure, which is launched when the fundamental values ​​of the EU are seen as being threatened by the actions of one of the member countries. The European Parliament launched this procedure in 2018, citing media freedom as one of the main concerns. The list of policy topics requiring special pre-publication approval includes “migration, terror in Europe, Brussels, church issues” and parliamentary, presidential and local government elections in the EU (this category includes Europe and some neighboring countries).In practice, what appears in the media is significantly influenced by another body – the Media Services Support and Management Fund (MTVA). This structure, for lack of transparency, is criticized by international organizations analyzing media order in various countries.

On 30th March 2020, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a so-called “coronavirus law”, by claiming that efficiently combating the coronavirus pandemic would require extraordinary measures and the ability to make rapid decisions, should that become necessary. The new law significantly expanded the government’s power during the so-called state of danger regime that was introduced on 11 March in response to the coronavirus situation. State of danger is a special form of extraordinary legal regime which can be only be introduced and withdrawn by the government. While a state of danger is in force, the government can rule by decree and does not need parliamentary approval. It is important to note, however, that at present it cannot yet be known with absolute certainty, whether and how the Hungarian government will use the extra powers granted by the coronavirus law.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned that emergency measures taken by EU countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic must be “limited”. Her warning comes after Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban took on sweeping powers, allowing the Hungarian government to rule by decree.

 

Informations gathered by

Artur Wierzbicki

President

FBE Human Rights Commission

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Mother Earth is crying without tears, the world reacts divided, Human Rights versus economy

“After we have heard all kinds of stories about the origin of the COVID-19 virus, we can only be sure about its outcome and horrifying effects on our world as a whole.

More than ever people are united by hopes of defeating this common enemy in order to stop it from taking more lives of our loved ones and making our fellow human beings sick.

Nonetheless we have to admit that even during times of high needs, people tend to forget the importance of human rights in our combat against this virus. As a matter of fact, we have seen numerous countries that have chosen to attach importance to their economy rather than to public health. This situation has led to a significant spread of the virus at which later on, countries decided to impose serious measures in order to contain the virus.

The question that one should ask is whether economic interests should be given equal importance compared to our public health and human rights.

The answer seems to be divided among different groups of people and experts. In Belgium it is clear that the government tried to find a balance in between but failed to do so in a proper way. The country is dealing with a huge number of infected and deceased people.
An unbelievably large number of deaths are now also being diagnosed in nursing homes for elderly people.

But not only Belgium is facing a hard time in its battle against the virus. All over the world citizens are witnessing the struggle of their governments dealing with the current state of emergency.

Governments refused to act proactively when it came to our knowledge that an immense virus was threatening our human race. This neglecting attitude has led to the fact that the virus took a global character.

In the United States, Donald Trump has clearly ruled out the public health and scientific experts when it comes to developing a strategy to cope with this virus. But he, most certainly, is not the only one who chose to rely on the advice of the business community and to prioritize the nation’s economy above anything else.

Governments have proven themselves guilty when it comes to respecting human rights. Those human rights also imply that politicians need to make decisions that not only care about the economic health, but also keeps in mind the importance of the public health and life itself. This means we are not ought to think that people that are middle-aged or have underlying medical problems are not to worry about.

One cannot emphasize enough the importance of expert groups that can independently inform decisionmakers about the strategies that can be followed. A panel of experts should not only exist out of an economic expert but should also include a medical expert, a social expert and most of all an expert of human rights to make sure that every decision taken, can comply with our fundamental rights.

We can combat the virus but in order to do so, we need to put aside relations of power and stop political games. Everyone knows that politicians always take into account their own interests.

It urges us to be critical for the decisions that are made by our authorities, which is a positive reflex. More than ever we need to stand together instead of being divided. We are all part of the same planet and every life should be considered equal.

Mother earth is quietly crying without tears but still our world reacts divided.

When medical necessity is at its highest, one should not worship money nor power. However, we have seen our governments proven themselves guilty, once again.”

 

Fatima ORAIBI

Belgian Lawyer

FBE Human Rights Commission Member