La Asamblea General de la Federación de Colegios de Abogados de Europa (FBE) celebrada en Barcelona el 1 de junio de 2019 expresó su grave preocupación por el asesinato de Paula Rocero, abogada en Nariño, Colombia, el 20 de mayo de 2019. Rocero recibió protección en 2016 tras varias amenazas por su trabajo en favor de los derechos humanos. Cabe señalar que el camino hacia la paz y la justicia en Colombia necesita un compromiso renovado. La FBE apoya la defensa de los derechos humanos y la necesidad de proteger a jueces, abogados y el Estado de derecho durante la transición hacia la paz.
La Asamblea General de la Federación de Colegios de Abogados de Europa (FBE) celebrada en Barcelona el 1 de junio de 2019 expresó su apoyo al Estado de derecho y la libertad de expresión en Turquía.
Exigimos la plena protección de la independencia de las profesiones del ámbito jurídico y periodístico en Turquía.
Pedimos que cese la estigmatización de abogados y periodistas y la detención de aquellos que luchan por la libertad, unos procesos judiciales justos, los derechos humanos universales y la libertad de opinión y de expresión.
On March 25, 2019, a momentous event took place in the building of the Law Society in London. On this day, the Final Report of the Colombian Caravan 2018 mission was submitted.
This event has been honored by many personages. Our Federation (FBE) was represented by the President of the Federation Mr Michele Lucherini who gave a welcome speech.
The discussion panel about Colombian facts was led by the excellent Prof. Sara Chandler. The FBE Human Rights Commission was represented by its President Mr Artur Wierzbicki and its members Mr Donovan Lindsay and Mr Nardy Desloover.
The FBE participated in the 6th delegation of jurists to Colombia with members from Italy and the UK.
The Federation supports the peace process and recognises that this is a hugely important period when the peace process is threatened by those who do not respect the rule of law, nor the defence of human rights. After more than 50 years of conflict we welcomed the Peace Agreement and over the last two years the process that began to develop.
The FBE has supported human rights lawyers in Colombia since 2006 when the Congress of the FBE was addressed by human rights lawyer Reinaldo Villalba Vargas.
The FBE Human Rights Commission has a long term programme of support for human rights defenders who are at risk, and face daily threats, attacks and assassination.
The International Caravana travelled to Colombia in September 2018. 20 experts from six countries focused their visit on the impact that the peace process has had on the work of human rights lawyers and the dynamics of the conflict. The Caravana travelled to six regions, meeting with lawyers, judges, human rights defenders, victims, and state representatives, among others.
Delegates observed that violence against human rights defenders and social movements has escalated and that there has been a worrying paradigm shift in relation to the characteristics of threats and how threats are acted upon, and a proliferation and re-emergence of illegal armed groups.
Human rights lawyers in Colombia are at heightened risk because of their work seeking accountability and defending communities’ fundamental rights. Delegates heard reports of repeated aggressions against them: threats to their lives and their families; break-ins and thefts of sensitive information; disciplinary complaints filed to hinder lawyers’ work; and stigmatisation by public officials unduly linking lawyers to their clients or making accusations of their belonging to illegal armed groups.
Human rights defenders and lawyers also face obstacles when seeking timely and appropriate protection from the state. The state’s approach to protection tends to be reactive rather than preventive and lacks understanding of the context in which lawyers work and how to take specific circumstances of geography, culture, and gender into account when allocating protection measures.
It would be far removed from reality to conclude that Colombia is in a period of post-conflict, let alone at peace.
The International Caravana first travelled to Colombia on the invitation of Colombian human rights lawyers in 2008. Our sixth delegation heralded the Caravana’s tenth anniversary of international professional solidarity in defence of human rights, justice, and rule of law.
A steady constant these past ten years is that lawyers, human rights defenders, and social leaders continue to be threatened and killed for seeking justice and defending marginalised communities. Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016, hundreds of human rights defenders have been assassinated and the UN has called for decisive action to stem the tide of violence enveloping many regions.
Colombian’s official state Ombudsman has reported that a human rights defender is killed every three days. The country is highly polarised. In 2018, two years after the historic signing of the Peace Agreement between the state and the FARC, the Caravana joined a call for justice, truth, reconciliation and non-repetition. As the international community and colleagues in the legal profession around the world, we ask that the Peace Agreement be more than just paper and that
it lead to transformation and transition for Colombia and security and peace for its lawyers, human rights defenders and citizens; a peace which all Colombians deserve.
Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, México: Massimiliano Buriassi, Francesco Christian Di Nardo, Valeria Verdolini, Wout Albers, Ron Rosenhart, Carles McCragh Pujà, Gemma Sunyer, Fabian Dreher, Rebecca Chalk, Sara Chandler QC (Hon), Jeffrey Forrest, Charlotte Gill, James Lupton, Christabel McCooey, Natasha Morgan, Lee Pearman, Rachel Rushby, Louise Williams, Sue Willman
President of the FBE Human Rights Commission
On the 12th of April 2019, the international FBE Law firm of the future competition came to an exciting final in Wroclaw, Poland.
Eleven finalists from Poland, Turkey, Bulgaria, The Netherlands and Spain gave a Power Point presentation with their vision on the law firm of the future.
The competition was open to young lawyers and law students. Every competitor or team had to submit a Power Point presentation with a view to the future.
Rumyana Yordanova and Gabriela Hristova from the international law firm Penkov Markov from Sofia were the winners.
A delegation of the FBE Presidency (Loew, Lucherini, Kaofhold, Wierzbicki) went to Ankara to meet the representative of the National Bar Council (UTBA), Ankara and Istanbul Bar to discuss with them, getting directly news about the processes against Lawyers and set the strategy in according with the Turkish lawyers.
It has been held a special meeting with the Turkish colleagues to organise the best initiatives.
The European Bars Federation and the Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie in their meeting of the the Mediterranean Assises, held in Hammamet on 29-30 March 2019,
Have unanimously adopted the following resolution
The European Bars Federation and the Ordre National des Avocats de Tunis want to:
• Express their maximum solidarity with the lawyer Nasrín Sotoudeh,
winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience of the European Parliament in 2012, who has assumed the defence of notorious personalities such as the Nobel Prize of Peace 2013 Shirín Ebadí or of the opponents arrested during the protests of the Green Movement of 2009.
• Recognise the work of people or institutions that have stood out for their merits or relevant services in favour of the rule of law and human rights protection.
• Express their deep concern about the situation of human rights defenders and lawyers in Iran, who are frequently subjected to arbitrary detention and other forms of harassment, as well as the growing social exclusion of the Iranian Bar Association, to the detriment of legal assistance and a fair trial.
• Urge to all States to comply with the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted at the Eight United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Havana (Cuba) on August/September 1990, asking for an effective protection for all lawyers, permitting them to continue with their legitimate and peaceful activities
in defence of human rights without fear of intimidation, harassment, reprisals and the loss of their own lives.
• Express their firm commitment to support all those initiatives promoted in any country in the world for the protection and safeguarding of the exercise of the right of defence that corresponds to lawyers in a State governed by the rule of law, guarantee of the rights and freedom of citizens.
FBE’s President, Lucherini, took part in the Congress organized by UIF at the Valdese University of Rome on the theme “Law and justice in the European common home”, with a report on the function and competences of European lawyers and the support of the FBE for protection of fundamental rights. Link to listen and see the speech: https://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/568554/legge-e-giustizia-nella-casa-comune-europea?fbclid=IwAR3huERiU0P-rk7tOLm1GJ2e1LQbIkQqkEndUToDfayMKYc1vxid7ggn9Pk&i=3963368
FBE took part at the 47 European Presidents Conference 2019 in WIEN about the defense of the state and the rule of law. 28th February – 2nd March 2019.
The European Conference of Presidents has become a forum for dialogue in which the elected representatives of European lawyers’ organizations exchange experiences. The “informal principle” of the European Conference of Presidents with a friendly supporting program has proved its worth for more than a quarter of a century in uninterrupted continuity.
In addition to the traditional supporting program – with events in the Palais Pallavicini we have to mention the workshop in the Palais Ferstel which is the focus of the Viennese Advokatengespräche.
FBE presented a special Magazine containing a report of the 2018 activities (see attached).
Registro : http://fbebarcelona.eu
Please book your hotel as soon as possible as May is already high season in Barcelona!
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer on January 24, 2019 is a day on which we call for the attention for lawyers all over the world who are facing harassment, threats, persecution or even torture and therefore the work of those Colleagues is made increasingly difficult.
We could help our Colleagues in Turkey that day by demonstrating our support in front of Turkish Embassies all over Europe as well as taking part in many panels/discussions. One of panel was organized by Amnesty International and DAV in Berlin/Germany in Berlin Bar on January 24, 2019 under the tittle :”Turkish cases before the ECtHR”.
On behalf of FBE Human Rights Commission and OIRP Poznan Human Rights Commission I celebrated that day with my German Colleagues-Lawyers, there. At 2.00 p.m. there was also a opportunity to take part in the peace demonstration in front of Turkish Embassy in Berlin.
We should realize that since the state of emergency in Turkey was declared in 2016, basing on public datas, 1,500 Turkish lawyers have been prosecuted and around 600 arrested. Around 3,000 judges and prosecutors are said to have lost their posts. In addition to journalists and opposition politicians, the lawyers are in the sights.
Mr Stefan von Raumer (Human Rights Committee DAV Berlin) – a lawyer specialized in international human rights law, co-editor of an ECHR commentary led the mentioning panel, I was part.
The panelist Mr Ümit Kılınç (human rights lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg) said at the meeting that one could roughly make out three groups among the threatened lawyers. The danger attaches to the clients who are represented. Affected are clients from politically left circles (1), Kurdish clients (2) and followers of the Gülen movement (3).
He gave the lever for prosecution of lawyers in Turkey as Article 301 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes the public downsizing of the Turkish nation, state or government, as well as judicial bodies. He also stressed that there is little trust among the lawyers in Turkey in the justice system. The last hope is still the Turkish Constitutional Court, but also threatens to be ignored in important decisions by the courts of the courts simply (there was an open showdown in early 2018 because a criminal court had refused to release two journalists).
In his opinion as in many other, the ECtHR was a great hope for number of people, including lawyers in Turkey – but their confidence is dwindling. The ECtHR sees tens of thousands of cases coming from Turkey and has so far regularly rejected complaints, and instead referred the complainants to the exhaustion of national remedies.
Mr Stefan von Raumer explained he believes that the rigorous handling of the Court eligibility requirement has led to a permanent overburdening of the Human Rights Court since 2011. He also stressed that the ECtHR would only be prepared to break its stringent admissibility requirements if a complaint authority in a state exists only theoretically but not practically (for example, the ECtHR had accepted this for cases from Serbia, even though there was a complaint authority, but it did not apply to certain legal acts).
In the opinion of many, Turkey must restore the rule of law, release still-detained magistrates and journalists, and lawyers, restore the rights of teachers and magistrates ( judges and prosecutors) who have resigned from July 2016, restore freedom of press and information, end the state of emergency and fully implement the European Convention on Human Rights.
LET’S STAY TOGETHER !
President of Human Rights Commission, FBE
President of Human Rights Commission, OIRP Poznan