Colombia: The Observatory condemns the harassment of lawyer Luz Estella Romero Villalba and her family 4 May 2022 Luz Estella Romero Villalba is under severe attack for her work as a human rights lawyer in Colombia. The harassment is directed against her and in particular against her family, having suffered an attempt to forcibly disappear her son. Luz Estella Romero Villalba is an ecofeminist human rights lawyer in Colombia, where she represents and coordinates the Asociación Colectivo Mujeres al Derecho (COLEMAD). COLEMAD focuses its work on the promotion, respect and defence of the human rights of women, girls, youth and marginalised communities, as well as on environmental and territorial issues. As of 2019, COLEMAD has consultative status with the United Nations. With regard to legal cases, COLEMAD carries out strategic litigation by accompanying organisations and women’s groups that are victims of the armed conflict before ordinary courts (criminal and administrative), courts such as Justice and Peace (Law 975), a special court for land restitution and an administrative mechanism for collective reparation (Law 1448), and a special court for Peace-JEP (Final Peace Agreement between the government and the FARC-EP). As a result of her defence work, between December 2019 and today, […]
Mexico: Three break-ins in less than 15 days at the home of environmental lawyer Juan Carlos Flores Solís
Guatemala: Criminalisation and hindrance of former members of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) legal practice
International Women's Rights Day.
Discover emblematic cases of women lawyers
CONFERENCE [May 19, 2022]: The role of lawyers in the promotion of the rule of law: international institutions to guarantee and defend the practice of lawyers
On May 19, 2022, the Observatory organizes an online and in person conference from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm (CET) translated into English, French, Italian and Spanish. Read the program. Link to register for the conference:https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1FsZ0dwCQmiIQOBTHRmIWA
COLOMBIA: [Video] The Observatory supports Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo
The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger supports the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective in the context of the Cajar v. Colombian State hearings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This is the first case of illegal intelligence against human rights lawyers to reach the IACHR. Alfredo Irujo, member of the executive committee of the Observatory, has denounced on behalf of the Observatory, the impunity for acts that violate the privacy and professional secrecy of CAJAR and all lawyers in Colombia. It also affirms that the hearings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on 12 and 13 May should make it possible to measure the impact of these threats to the work and life of human rights defenders in Colombia, as well as to point the way towards the comprehensive protection of the work and of human rights defenders. Finally, it encourages the Colombian state to provide concrete and transparent information on the identification of the victims of illegal eavesdropping activities. In such a way that they can exercise their right of access to justice and effective measures are taken so that these serious human rights violations are not repeated and are clarified.
TURKEY: Lawyer Can Atalay and six other defendants were sentenced to 18 years in prison, without any evidence
Osman Kavala, publisher, sponsor and human rights defender, who has been arbitrarily imprisoned for the past four and a half years, has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Lawyer Can Atalay and six other defendants were sentenced to 18 years in prison, without any evidence. Osman Kavala was, on 25 April 2022, convicted by the 13th Istanbul Assize Court of “attempting to overthrow the government” under Article 312/1 of the Turkish Penal Code in the Gezi Park trial. Nearly 5 million people participated in the peaceful Gezi Park protests across the country in 2013, marking the beginning of the authoritarian and repressive drift of the Turkish authorities in major Turkish cities. Lawyer Can Atalay, as well as the architect Mücella Yapıcı, the producer Çiğdem Mater, the Bogazici University Science Po director Hakan Altınay, the documentary film director Mine Özerden, the architect Tayfun Kahraman, and the professor Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi, were sentenced to 18 years in prison by the same court, on political grounds. This verdict not only contradicts the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Turkey for violating Osman Kavala’s right to freedom, imprisoned “with the aim of silencing him”, but also exposes once again the lack […]
Turkey: The Observatory and its members, the French National Bar (CNB), the Paris Bar and the Bologna Bar, were present at the trial of our Turkish colleagues imprisoned for 6 years
The Observatory and its members, the French National Bar (CNB), the Paris Bar and the Bologna Bar, were present on 23 March 2022 at the trial of the “Progressive Lawyers Association” (CHD) at the Silivri high security prison complex (Turkey). In this case, 22 lawyers, members of the CHD association, have been prosecuted since 2013 based on the Turkish anti-terrorist law. Ebru TIMTIK lost her life after a 238-day hunger strike, launched to obtain a fair trial. Selçuk KOZAGACLI, former president of the CHD and Barkın TIMTIK, lawyer and Ebru’s sister, have been imprisoned for almost 6 years. Since the beginning of this case, the lawyers have denied all its elements; the protagonists of the case, the investigation, the evidence, and the witnesses. The prosecutor who prepared the indictment was sentenced to life imprisonment for “belonging to the Gulenist movement” and is currently on the run. The Deputy Director of the Istanbul Anti-Terror Division and police officers serving in the division are being prosecuted for, among other things, “forgery”, “fabrication of false evidence” and “altering illegally obtained digital data”. The main investigator, the police officer who carried out the instructions of the said prosecutor, was dismissed and prosecuted for “forgery” […]
International Women’s Day
The Observatory supports women lawyers March 8 is the International Women’s Rights Day. On this occasion, the Observatory wishes to put forward profiles of women lawyers who fight for the recognition of their rights in their country. Many women lawyers are persecuted in the world, the Observatory affirms its support. As members of the profession, these women must be recognized the same rights as their colleagues. The Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in Havana (Cuba) in 1990 reaffirms in its preamble that: ““the peoples of the world affirm, inter alia , their determination to establish conditions under which justice can be maintained, and proclaim as one of their purposes the achievement of international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion”. Some of our colleagues have recently been victims of violence and intimidation in the course of their work. In Afghanistan, Latifa Sharifi was threatened for her fight against domestic violence against women. In the Philippines, Czarina Musni, committed to the protection of vulnerable people and […]
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Procedure to evaluate cases.
When the observatory is informed of the situation of a lawyer at risk, it proceeds to verify the information it receives and to evaluate the context surrounding the case.
The Observatory’s team verifies the nature of the case that has been reported to check whether it falls under its sphere of competence/mandate and attempts to ascertain the veracity of the allegations received.
The Observatory has consolidated an extensive network of contacts with international and regional bodies, civil society organizations, diplomatic representations and bar associations. This network enables it to gather information pertinent to the lawyers’ general situation and that of specific cases.
The Observatory attempts to establish contact with the lawyer in order to understand his or her needs and circumstances in order to organize the appropriate kind of support that can effectively respond to the defense and protection strategy adopted.
Having completed the process of verification and information gathering, the case Evaluation Group performs an overall assessment of the situation, determines the degree of severity of the case, and issues recommendations on the type of action to be taken to procure counsel and effective support.
The verification and assessment process is performed within a limited amount of time in order to address the grave situations requiring urgent action.
Once the Evaluation Group has presented its recommendations, the Observatory proceeds to take action in accordance with these recommendations and in coordination with the lawyer in question and his or her surroundings.
No action is ever taken without the express consent of the lawyer in question.
WHAT IS THE OBSERVATORY FOR ?
Established in 2010 in the framework of the EU funded project “Lawyers serving lawyers”, the Observatory was re-established in 2015.
The Observatory’s basic aim is to uphold the right to practice law freely and totally independently, and to denounce situations where the right to legal counsel is at risk.
The observatory’s work covers warnings, support in the field and training.