Turkey: continued concerns of the CCBE

23/08/2016 § Leave a comment

On 19 August 2016, the CCBE wrote a letter to President Erdoğan to express its concerns regarding the situation of lawyers in the country following the coup attempt of 15 July.

On 26 July, the Adana Bar Association reportedly released a statement referring to the “fear” and “concern” about possible reprisals felt by lawyers in Adana, the decision made by some not to provide legal assistance to people detained in relation to the failed coup, and the negative treatment they faced from the police and prosecutors if they represented the detainees. On 28 July, the CCBE was informed that about 50 lawyers were held incommunicado in Istanbul, with no access to legal representation. The CCBE was also made aware of the cases of lawyers Deniz Sürgüt and Orhan Kemal Cengiz, respectively tortured in detention and banned from travelling.

Furthermore, the CCBE expressed concerns about a government decree of 27 July allowing prosecutors to bar detainees from meeting with a lawyer during the first five days of police custody. A decree published on 23 July had already placed restrictions on the right to private communications with lawyers for suspects in cases of terrorism and organised crime, and reserved the authorities’ right to appoint another lawyer to represent the detainee.

A copy of the letter can be acessed here.

See also ‘International Organisations Issue Statement of Concern Regarding Turkey’s Post-coup Crackdown’ and ‘The CCBE voiced its concerns over the dismissal of judges in Turkey‘.

Violation of lawyers’ professional and human rights in Ukraine

01/08/2016 § Leave a comment

28 July 2016, as a follow-up to new cases of lawyers’ rights violations in Ukraine, the CCBE sent a letter to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. The reported violations that were brought to the CCBE’s attention include, but are not limited to: physical violence, violation of human and professional rights, unlawful search and seizure, refusal of an access to a client, unlawful wiretapping and identifying a lawyer with a client.

Given the crucial role of lawyers in the administration of justice, and in the maintaining and defence of the rule of law, the CCBE condemned the aforementioned violations. It pointed out that, in many of the cases mentioned, it was law enforcement authorities that committed the abuses. In this context, the CCBE stressed the importance of safeguarding lawyers’ rights, as their violation will inevitably have an impact on the right of Ukrainian citizens to a fair trial, as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights. As the lawyers are central in ensuring the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the CCBE respectfully asked the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the facts mentioned in the letter, and to take all measures to prevent future abuses.

International Organisations Issue Statement of Concern Regarding Turkey’s Post-coup Crackdown

01/08/2016 § Leave a comment

On 26 July 2016, together with the European Bars Federation (FBE) and the International Association of Lawyers (UIA), the CCBE has issued a joint statement expressing concerns over the disregard for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey, in the aftermath of the failed coup and the state of emergency which was recently declared.

The organisations are extremely alarmed by the ongoing purge within the judiciary. They recalled that there can be no derogation from the following articles: Article 2 (Right to life), Article 3 (Prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment), Article 4 para. 1 (Prohibition of slavery), Article 7 (No punishment without law).

The CCBE, FBE and UIA underline that any statement by President Erdoğan that he would allow for a reinstatement of the death penalty is contrary to Turkey’s obligations under international law and its membership in the Council of Europe.

The CCBE voiced its concerns over the dismissal of judges in Turkey

25/07/2016 § Leave a comment

The CCBE has been following the alarming developments that have recently taken place in Turkey. In the light of this, it has written a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to express its serious concern over the events of Friday 15 July 2016 which led to a significant number of deaths, and more than 1,000 people being wounded. In addition, the CCBE stressed that the dismissal of 2,745 judges will seriously undermine the independence of judiciary. In this context, the CCBE calls for effective steps to ensure that the rule of law is upheld in Turkey.

Programme of the PECO seminar in Albania is now available

18/07/2016 § Leave a comment

Tirana

As previously reported, the CCBE will organise a PECO Seminar in cooperation with the Albanian National Chamber of Advocacy, which will take place on 30 September 2016 in Tirana – the draft programme is now available. After a short introduction from the President of the Albanian National Bar and the CCBE President, expert speakers from across Europe will discuss with their Albanian counterparts the core values of the legal profession and enforcement mechanisms, which will be followed by the World Bank’s report on ‘Comparative analysis of Bars and Law Societies in selected European jurisdictions’. In the afternoon session, the discussions will focus on the organisation of initial and continuous training and the use of new training methods. The seminar will be concluded by the presentation of the Council of Europe on the ‘Human Rights Education of Legal Professionals’ (HELP) programme. While, the seminar will focus particularly on the achievements and challenges of the establishment of high standards for the exercising of the legal profession in Albania, it will also be of interest to audiences from across Europe.

PECO Profile: Albania

14/07/2016 § Leave a comment

logo_National Chamber of Advocacy Of Albania

Albania has a population of 2 800 000 and 1800 active lawyers (data of 2015), with a total number of 8200 lawyers. The Albanian National Bar Association joined the CCBE as an observer member in 2008.

Key information about the profession:

Initial training of lawyers: One must obtain a university law degree. Mandatory initial training consists of a one-year internship and the completion of a training program organised by the National School of Lawyers (NSL). Upon completion of the initial training, a candidate should pass a qualification examination for the practice of the legal profession and obtain a result of more than 50 percent.

Continuous training: Is mandatory. A detailed regulation is under preparation. Continuous training activities are organised by the National Chamber of Advocacy in the framework of international programmes, such as JusT, Council of Europe, USAID, etc. Failure to attend continuous training activities shall constitute grounds for revocation of the license to exercise the profession of advocate.

Specialisation: There is no specialisation.

Discipline: The law on the Profession of Advocates of 2012 introduced the position of a Complaints Commissioner, who can be addressed in case of infringements of the law committed by a lawyer. After their decision on the case, the complaint may be presented before the Disciplinary Committee composed of 6 lawyers, 1 representative of MoJ, 1 representative of civil society or academia, 1 representative appointed by a decision of HCJ, which decides on the specific case. A suit can be filed at the administrative court if one wants to contest the decision of the Disciplinary Committee.

Legal Aid: In Albania, a Law on Legal Aid was adopted in December 2008 and entered into force in April 2009. However, due to the drawbacks of the current legal aid system one of which is its limited budget, free legal aid continues to be provided mainly by non-governmental organisations with donor funding.

Current concerns of the Bar:

Threat to the independence of the Turkish judiciary

08/07/2016 § Leave a comment

On 30 June 2016, the Turkish Parliament passed the draft “Law on the Amendment of the Codes of the Supreme Court and the Council of the State and other Codes”. As a result, all members of the Supreme Court and of the Council of the State will be shortly dismissed and replaced. The new law will also introduce changes into the system of appointment. New magistrates will have to be appointed by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is reportedly made up of government-backed members. Furthermore, 24 members of the Council of State will be directly appointed by the President.

The CCBE is concerned with the impact that this new legislation will have on the independence of the judiciary at all levels, thereby undermining the separation of powers, the right to a fair trial and, more broadly, the rule of law.

For further information, please see the letter written by the CCBE on its concerns related to the recently adopted law.

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