Lawyers respond to crises

21 Jul


Lawyers groups have responded to crises in Turkey, where thousands of judges have been arrested and dismissed following the failed coup, and on the Greek island of Lesvos, where thousands of migrants are seeking international protection.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute condemned the situation in Turkey, with its co-chair Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC, stating: “At a time of political instability, such as Turkey is currently experiencing, it is essential that the institutions that safeguard human rights and democracy are upheld. Protecting the independence and impartiality of the judiciary is crucial to ensuring the protection of Turkish citizens.”

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) said that the United Nations Basic Principles provide that judges should be subject to suspension or removal “only for reasons of incapacity or behaviour that renders them unfit to discharge their duties.”

CCBE President Michel Benichou, said: “We are all shocked by recent developments and their potential implications. The importance of upholding the rule of law cannot be over-emphasised. Judicial independence is critical to the functioning of any democracy. A free society exists only if governed by the rule of law.”

Volunteer lawyers are being sought by the CCBE which, in conjunction with the German Bar Association (DAV), has organised a scheme to send European lawyers to Lesvos to support Greek lawyers in providing individual legal advice to migrants.

Details at