Equatorial Guinea: Lawyer Gemma Jones was arbitrarily detained for more than three hours at the National Police station in the capital city of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo.
Nicaragua: Nicaraguan lawyer José Arnulfo López Cruz is forced into exile to avoid arrest for his legal defence of political prisoners.
Hundreds of lawyers are killed and imprisoned every year.
Protect the right to counsel.
Afghanistan: The Afghanistan Independent Bars Association stormed by the Taliban
Farid Ershad/ Unsplash / 2021 November 23, 2021 On Tuesday, November 23, 2021, fifty armed Taliban took control of the Afghanistan Independent Bars Association (AIBA) by force. During their violent intrusion, they ordered the verification of all contracts signed by the Bar Association with foreigners. The Taliban also seized funds belonging to the 2,500 lawyers who finance the Bar Association. These actions seriously jeopardize the integrity of the Bar Association and professional secrecy. AIBA is one of the only bar associations in the world that has a quota of women on all executive committees and at least one vice president must be a woman. At this time, it is unclear what impact the “nationalization” of the Afghanistan Bar Association will have specifically on women leaders of the Bar Association. This attack against the bar is part of the process of deconstruction of the rule of law in Afghanistan since the seizure of power by the Taliban on August 15, 2021, and follows in particular the takeover of the Ministry of Justice on access to the profession. Indeed, from now on, all lawyers in the country who have a license with the AIBA will have to acquire a new license from […]
PHILIPPINES: Letter of objection to the candidacy of Mr. Herminio “Harry” Roque Jr. to the United Nations International Law Commission
[Unsplash / Mathias P.R. Reding / May 2020]. The Observatory has sent a letter to the authorities of France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain expressing its opposition to the candidacy of Mr. Herminio “Harry” Roque Jr. to the United Nations International Law Commission. As an official spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for extrajudicial killings and other violations in his so-called “war on drugs”, Mr. Roque has publicly defended and justified attacks on human rights, justice, due process and the rule of law. Access the full document HERE.
NICARAGUA: The legal team of the association “ACCIÓN PENAL” forced to continue its work defending political prisoners from exile
[Flickr / Alexander Schimmeck 2018] Lawyers of Acción Penal have been forced to continue their work from exile after being under constant attack for their legal defence of political prisoners. Acción Penal is an association created by criminal lawyers, all of whom previously worked as prosecutors in the Nicaraguan Public Ministry. This association was created in February 2019 to respond to the need for legal defence of political prisoners and legal assistance to victims of repression, in the context of the social and political crisis affecting Nicaragua. Acción Penal is composed of a permanent team of three lawyers who work occasionally with three other associate lawyers. The members of Acción Penal work to assist persons deprived of their liberty who are protesting for the respect of human rights in Nicaragua. In this way they promote access to free and quality legal defence, the creation of specialised documentation recording human rights violations, as well as the filing of legal actions against the Nicaraguan state for these violations. Acción Penal’s legal team has been working in a hostile context when dealing with legal issues related to the social and political crisis of April 2018. State repression has increased in the context of […]
RUSSIA: Open letter: Concern about the safety and independence of Mr Ivan Pavlov
14th of October 2021 The OIAD has addressed an open letter to the Minister of Justice The Russian Federation to assert the concern for the safety and independence of the Lawyer Ivan Pavlov. Access the full document HERE.
Turkey: Fact-finding mission from 15 to 20 September 2021 : 18th hearing of the trial of lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik, detained for 5 years
From 15 to 20 September 2021, an international delegation of lawyers representing several organisations, including the OIAD, returned to Turkey in the course of a fact-finding mission to visit imprisoned lawyers and attend their trials. This mission followed the last trial monitoring mission, carried out in April 2021, which concerned the OCH (Law Office for the People) and CHD I (Association of Progressive Lawyers) cases, involving lawyers who are members of human rights associations. The arrest and imprisonment of these lawyers has already been denounced by the OIAD and many international actors for violating the principles of a fair trial, and the rights of the defence. For more details, see the mission report recently published by the OIAD. On September 15, 2021, Jacopo Ograbek, mandated by the OIAD, attended the hearing of lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik, who have been in pre-trial detention for 5 years for, among other things, “belonging to a terrorist organization”. They are being tried by the Istanbul Criminal Court n°18, after a review by the Turkish Court of Cassation which decided to overturn the appealed judgment. They are appearing in two cases that were irregularly joined following the decision of the Court of Cassation. […]
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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.