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COLOMBIA: The OIAD file an Amicus Curiae brief in the “Dilan Cruz Case”
The International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) submits an Amicus Curiae brief to the Constitutional Court of Colombia in the “Dilan Cruz Case”. The Dilan Cruz case refers to the killing of the young man by a member of the National Police, during the 2019 National Strike demonstrations in Colombia. The lawyer Fernando Rodríguez Kekhan is a member of the legal team of the committee in solidarity with political prisoners in Colombia, and represents the interests of the family of the young Dilan Cruz. The presentation of the amicus curiae responds to the actions of the OIAD in accompanying Fernando Rodríguez Kekhan, in the context of risk in which he carries out his work as a lawyer. The amicus provides a legal analysis on the importance of serious human rights violations such as the present one not being studied within the Military Criminal Jurisdiction. This special jurisdiction restrain the respect of due process and victims’ rights. Specifically, the Colombian Constitutional Court is asked to recognise the competence of the ordinary jurisdiction in the Dilan Cruz case. In such a way that the lawyer can exercise the guarantees of participation in accordance with due process, without risks, threats […]
MEXICO: The OIAD files an Amicus Curiae brief in the “Digna Ochoa” case
May 24th, 2021 The International Observatory of Endangered Lawyers (OIAD) and the Spanish Lawyers Foundation have submitted an Amicus Curiae brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R) in the case “Family of Digna Ochoa y Placido v. Mexico”. Digna Ochoa y Plácido was a Mexican human rights lawyer who died violently on 19 October 2001 after having been the target of threats for years for reasons associated with her professional work. The elements of analysis and context offered to the I/A Court H.R through the amicus brief lead to the conclusion that the ideal conditions did not exist to ensure the protection of Digna Ochoa y Plácido, regarding the threats and the situation of risk that arose as a consequence of them. In other words, the public authorities failed in their duty to guarantee the victim’s protection, which includes investigating the threats received during the previous years. Although the lawyer had been granted protective measures by the Court, these measures were withdrawn two months before her murder on 19 October 2001. The amicus is mainly based on the findings described in the Report of the Spanish Lawyers Fondation “Impunity and Defencelessness: Case of Fernández Ortega […]
Press release of the OIAD
The Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italy), with lawyer Francesco Caia, assumes the Presidency of the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) for this year. 5 May 2021 The President Victoria Ortega Benito handed over of the Presidency at the end of the General Assembly held on April 29, 2021 in accordance with the statute, which provides for the annual rotation of the Presidency among the founding members of the Observatory (Conseil National des Barreaux (France), Conseil National Forense (Italy), Consejo General de la Abogacía Española (Spain), Ordre des Avocats de Paris. The Geneva Bar Association and the Milan Bar Association are elected members of the OIAD Board. Five years have passed since the foundation of the OIAD, which main aim is to support lawyers all over the world who are threatened and persecuted by arbitrary arrests and convictions only because they are guilty of faithfully exercising the defensive mandate, in the exclusive interest of the client, without yielding to the pressures of governments and authoritarian regimes. Many are physically attacked and injured or even pay with their lives for their commitment. Currently, more than forty bar associations, including non-Europeans, are members of the OIAD. «I thank the President Ortega, all […]
Honduras: The trial of Roberto David Castillo Mejía, the instigator of Berta Cáceres’ assassination
The trial of Roberto David Castillo Mejía in the Berta Cáceres case began on April 6, 2021. The Expert Observation Mission (in which the International Observatory of Endangered Lawyers (OIAD) took part) has monitored the entire case and is currently supervising the trial. The president of the OIAD and of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers, Victoria Ortega, has dedicated a few words of support to the legal team of the victims in the trial and has wished that the process takes place with all the legal guarantees. Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, the general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated on March 2, 2016 for her active opposition to the “Agua Zarca”. The latter is an hydroelectric project built by the DESA company on the territory of the Lenca indigenous in southwestern Honduras. L’OIAD was initially involved in the case though its’ support to Víctor Fernández (a threatened lawyer), COPINH’s legal representative who took on the representation in court of the leader’s family and to COPINH as a victim of Berta Cáceres’ assassination. In 2018, seven people were sentenced as co-authors in the murder of Berta Cáceres. The OIAD carried out […]
Press release: Expert mission to Observe Trial for Murder of Berta Cáceres
Honduras: The trial for the intellectual authorship of the murder of Berta Cáceres Honduras begins The Expert Observation Mission in which the International Qualified Observation Mission in which the International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) participates, has issued a press release on the beginning of the trial for the murder of Berta Cáceres: Honduras: Expert mission to Observe Trial for Murder of Berta Cáceres The Americas/Europe April 6, 2021 In light of the upcoming trial of the Berta Cáceres Case, the Expert Observation Mission calls on the State of Honduras to guarantee the application of international standards and national norms that lead to truth, comprehensive justice and reparations in a case of global interest. Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated on March 2, 2016. In addition to the defense of territory, she worked to assert the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as women’s rights. As a result of her struggle and advocacy work, Berta Cáceres was the victim of numerous threats and campaigns of stigmatization, harassment and criminalization, which led the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to grant her precautionary measures during […]
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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.