Human Rights

ECBA appoints Human Rights Officer

As defined by its constitution, one the objects of the ECBA is to promote the administration of justice and human rights under the rule of law within the member states of the Council of Europe and among the peoples of the world. Throughout the years the ECBA has been following Criminal Proceedings’ Human Rights’ issues. The increasing involvement of the ECBA in advocacy for Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings – see, for example, the issue of the Lawyers’ Judgments in Turkey addressed  in the Newletter (Issue 27: December 2013) – has led the ECBA to appoint a Human Rights Officer (HRO).

The first ECBA-HRO will be Advisory Board Member Scott Crosby. Scott is a long time member of the ECBA and has a wide experience in taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights. He also publishes regular updates on European Court of Human Rights’ Judgments in the New Journal of European Criminal Law (NJECL).

The Human Rights Officer (HRO) will be the contact person for Human Rights’ issues, including  possible interventions by the ECBA before the ECtHR, and will represent the ECBA in activities such as trial observations.

If you know of any issue that should be brought to the attention of the HRO, please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Given that the demands of human rights law for the work of the ECBA are steadily increasing and cannot be adequately met by the Human Rights Officer alone the executive and advisory boards of the ECBA decided at the meeting of 21 April 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic, to establish a human rights committee.

The Human Rights Committee (HRC) comprise the undernoted persons:

Scott Crosby, Chair and Human Rights Officer 
Members: 

Alexis Anagnostakis   Duncan Grieve
Nicola Canestrini   Nancy Hollander
Vânia Costa Ramos   Tomasz Kodrzycki
Walter De Agostino   Ondrej Laciak
Marius Dietrichson   Mihai Mares
Paul Garlick   Christa Middleton
Thomas Garner   Jonathan Mitchell
Monica Gazzola   Kevin Roberts
Sergey Golubok    Alex Tinsley
Robin Grey    

 

Ms Ana Ursachi is a prominent criminal defence lawyer and human rights activist from the Republic of Moldova. She made her name acting in a number of high profile cases for perceived opponents of the current political elite in Moldova. She has found herself the target of criminal proceedings in Moldova which she asserts are being brought as punishment for her having acted in these cases and in March 2018 a domestic warrant was issued for her arrest. She fears that the Moldovan authorities might now seek her extradition on what she asserts are politically motivated and abusive charges.

Whilst it would be inappropriate for the the Committee to comment on the substance of any allegations against Ms Ursachi the manner in which the authorities in Moldova have pursued the criminal proceedings against her to date raises several grave concerns. A judge who refused to issue a warrant against her in 2016 was summarily dismissed and made the subject of criminal proceedings and indeed her own defence lawyer has been made subject to threats and coercion culminating in criminal allegations being made against himself.

The ECBA Human Rights Committee has written to INTERPOL on 18 May 2018 in order to express its concern regarding the case, and urging them not to cooperate with the Moldovan authorities in respect of any request for a Red Notice or Diffusion in her case.

On 19 April 2018, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the ECBA met in Oslo for its inaugural meeting, kindly hosted by the Norwegian Bar Association.

 Building on its recent interventions in cases of lawyers at risk due to their professional work (see previous press releases on the cases of Salih Akinci and Robert Rosu) and on its protest against threats to the  system of human rights protection in Europe, the HRC discussed its areas of focus and activities going forward in pursuit of its mission of promoting human rights in the field of criminal justice in the Council of Europe region.

 The HRC expects to be active across a range of fair trial, procedural rights and cross-border justice issues, with a particular focus on matters such as lawyers at risk, development and reform of the EAW, plea bargaining, interventions before the ECtHR and other courts where appropriate and pre-trial detention. It anticipates increased action at the national and European level and looks forward to engaging with key institutions and NGOs across the region now and in the future.

 For more information, please contact the HRC via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr Robert Rosu, Advocate in Bucharest, has been charged for conduct which according to the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice was legitimate and within the bounds of lawyers’ competences. In addition the prosecution has tried to ruin his reputation by parading him in handcuffs and under restraint before the cameras of Romania’s assembled television stations.

The HR Committee, with the support of the Executive Committee and the Advisory Board has sent the following letter (click here) to the Romanian Minister of Justice.

The Human Rights Committee is pleased to announce that Mr Akinci was released from prison on 30 December 2017 and that the question of his deportation to Turkey has been suspended until his request for asylum has been decided. In addition no criminal charges have been laid against him. We believe that the Committee’s intervention was influential in this regard.

2 January 2018
The Chairman

Mr Akinci is currently held in detention in Greece, facing imminent deportation to Turkey, where he would likely be prosecuted for adversion, seemingly and if so, in violation of essential principles of international and European law, as a result of his fulfilling his professional duties by defending many persons accused of supporting Fetullah Gülen and thus of supporting the attempted coup against the President of Turkey of 15 July 2016.

The ECBA Human Rights Committee has written on 29 December 2017 to the the Greek authorities to express its concern, and urging the authorities not to deport Mr. Akinci.

Further details are set out in the letters below .

Letter to the Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Mr Stavros Kontonis

Letter to the Minister of Public Order and Citizen's Protection, Mr Nikolaos Toskas

Please click here for a short statement from the Human Rights Committee of the European Criminal Bar Association following the statement of the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom yesterday, 6 June 2017, that she will “rip up” human rights laws if they stand in the way of implementing her anti-terrorist policies.

The statement was sent on Tuesday 11 October 2016 to President Erdoğan and relevant authorities in Turkey as well as key players at EU level (Commission, Council, Parliament, Council of Europe, European External Action Service, EU Fundamental Rights Agency).  

English version

French version

Please click here for the reply from Prof. Dr. Metin Feyzioğlu, Esq., President of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (UTBA) to the ECBA and here for the statement issued by the UTBA and the local bar associations.

Handouts from MEDEL (Magistrats européens pour la démocratie et les libertés) as presented by Scott Crosby, ECBA Human Right Officer at the ECBA Autumn Conference in Lisbon, Portugal on 1 October 2016.

Please click here to read the ECBA's initial Statement, 19 July 2016.

You will find the statement by the UN Human Rights Council regarding a situation in Turkey by clicking here.

The Human Rights Officer has written a letter to Mr. Schulz, President of the European Parliament on 18 March 2016, with copies to the Presidents of the Council and the Commission respectively to draw their attention to the break down of the rule of law in Turkey.

To read the letter click here.
In his letter he refers to two other letters:

  • The first letter is from Mr Ceren Uysal, Advocate, which was received on 16 March 2016 and which describes the repressive measures taken by the Turkish authorities against academics who signed a petition on 10 January 2016 demanding inter alia that the state “abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region” and that “the state lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage.”
  • The second comprises a Statement from the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights dated 17 March 2016 which reports that on 16 March 2016, the police raided the houses of lawyers in Istanbul and arrested others without reasons being given.

No reply has been received from Mr. Schulz or from either of the two other presidents either.

By Scott Crosby, Advocate, Brussels, HumanRights Officer of the ECBA

Terror struck Brussels today, 22 March 2016, at the beginning of Easter week. We saw the aftermath of the metro bombing from the office window. Some of us had passed through the airport only a few hours before the explosions there. Everybody is affected. Everybody is shocked. Everybody is asking how it will all end. Now everybody understands Kabul, Bagdad, Jerusalem, Gaza, Ankara, Istanbul, New York, Boston, London, Madrid, Glasgow, Paris and all the other places where people are blown out of existence in the name of we know not what.