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.

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.

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

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.

“This piece was originally published in the joint UK Law Societies’ monthly publication on EU law and policy, the Brussels Agenda.”

After failing to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) in the 2010-2015 Parliament whilst in coalition, the UK Conservative Government, now with a slim majority, is approaching the subject with renewed vigour. The current Government plan is to scrap the HRA and replace it with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities by the summer of 2016[1].

The HRA incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (ECHR) into UK domestic law. It enables UK citizens to use the ECHR in any UK court, obliges UK courts to “take into account” the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) jurisprudence, read national legislation “so far as is possible” in line with the ECHR, and allows UK courts to declare that national legislation is incompatible with the ECHR (but only allows for the striking down of secondary, not primary, legislation).

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a non-governmental organization with consultative status to the Council on Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (ECOSOC), and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights (ELDH) are shocked and outraged by the brutal murder of their colleague Tahir Elçi, president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association.

Please click here for their press release.

The ECBA endorses the statements of the IADL and the ELDH and abhors and condemns this assassination unreservedly.

An open letter was sent out to  the Chinese authorities on 21st of July 2015.

The undersigned organisations, including the ECBA, strongly condemn the recent unprecedented and seemingly well-coordinated detention of a large number of human rights lawyers in China.

Please click here for the letter in English and here for the Chinese version.