Report on the UN Human Rights Committee - The Universal Periodic Report on Turkey
(A/HRC/WG.6/21/TUR/2) - 27 January 2015 - click here for the report.
Report by Scott Crosby, ECBA Human Right Officer
The document bearing the above reference was prepared for the UNRC and was prepared for the 21st Human Rights Council Session by way of a Universal Periodic Review on Turkey and was discussed in Geneva on 27 January 2015.
Immediately after the official discussion in the HRC, a side meeting was held in the UN Building, the Palais des Nations, where representatives of various sectors of Turkish life testified as to persistent human rights violations by Turkey.
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ECBA Response to proposed Directive on The Presumption of Innocence
ECBA Plea to EU Politics: Follow the Rule of Law – Human rights should not be negotiable
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for the ECBA Response to the Commission’s Proposal for a Directive on Certain Aspects of the Presumption of Innocence and of the right to be present at trial. It was sent on the 6th of November 2014 to the new Commissioner, Mrs Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and to Oliver Tell, Director Unit B.1, Directorate General Justice, to all members of the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament, to all national ministries of justice in the 28 EU Member States and to our colleagues of national bars and of the CCBE. Click here for the reply from Oliver Tell and here for the reply from Koen Geens, Minister of Justice of Belgium.
Surveillance of lawyer-client communications/Surveillance des communications entre les avocats et le
Please find below the text of a press release issued today in English and French / Veuillez trouver ci-après le texte du communiqué de presse publié aujourd'hui en français et en anglais.
Brussels, 15 January 2015
Members of the European Parliament denounce surveillance of lawyer-client communications
MEPs raised concerns about interception of phone calls between lawyers and their clients by intelligence services across Europe in a plenary debate with the Presidency of the EU and the Commissioner for Justice on Tuesday evening.
The issue had been put on the agenda of the plenary session of the European Parliament following the recent admission by the Minister of the Interior of the Netherlands that the Dutch intelligence and security agency (AIVD) had been spying for years on Amsterdam-based law-firm Prakken d’Oliveira. According to data collected by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), communications between lawyers and their clients have been monitored over the last few years by police or intelligence services in similar cases in France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Latvia.
MEPs from across the political spectrum took turns in denouncing an unacceptable form of espionage that goes against the right to a fair trial, the rule of law and democracy.
In her response on behalf of the Council of Ministers, Latvian Secretary of State for European Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, refused to take a stand and only stated that collection and processing of personal data for the purpose of national security is not regulated currently by EU law, as the Lisbon Treaty explicitly gives this competence to the Member States.
“The extent and occurrence of this type of wiretapping shows that it is a widespread problem in need of a solution” says CCBE President Maria Ślązak. “National security cannot serve as an excuse to ignore the principle of lawyer-client confidentiality and deprive citizens of the right to legal counsel and to a fair trial. We hope that in time the European Court of Justice will be asked by a national court to define the meaning and extent of national security in this context, and whether it can ever provide a justification for the surveillance of the activities of lawyers.”
Justice Commissioner Vĕra Jourová expressed her ‘concern’ and vowed to follow closely developments on this issue as well as the implementation of the 2013 Directive on the right of access to a lawyer(1), which guarantees the confidentiality of communications between an accused person and their lawyer.
MEPs asked for action to be taken by the EU, through investigations, sanctions and the adoption of legislation. The CCBE supports their initiative, and calls for a minimum level of legal protection afforded to professional secrecy from government electronic surveillance, which could be included in the European Parliament project to establish ‘A European Digital Habeas Corpus - protecting fundamental rights in a digital age’.
Note to editors
ECBA comments and recommendations following the proposed instruments on legal aid (part of the five proposals in the field of procedural safeguards) published by the European Commission in November 2013
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for the ECBA comments and recommendations following the proposed instruments on legal aid (part of the five proposals in the field of procedural safeguards) published by the European Commission in November 2013.
The ECBA had already published its position paper “ECBA Touchstones - Minimum Standards for the right to Legal Aid” (click here
for the document and more on our legal aid page
) in June 2013, in anticipation of the proposal for a directive on legal aid.
Both papers are a result of intensive and careful consideration of the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) working group on Legal Aid composed of ca 10 practitioners from different jurisdictions all over Europe. It was sent to Mrs Reding, Vice-president and Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and to Oliver Tell, Director Unit B.1, Directorate General Justice on 12 May 2014.
ECBA reply on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings, 6 May 2014
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for our response to the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings, which is the result of intensive and careful consideration of the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) working group on Measure E, composed of 14 practitioners in criminal law from 10 countries all over Europe. It was sent on 6 May 2014 to Mrs Reding, Vice-president and Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and to Oliver Tell, Director Unit B.1, Directorate General Justice. Read more...