09/09/2020 Legal Affairs and Human Rights
The Committee on Legal Affairs expressed its concern by the numerous cases of violations of lawyers’ rights, including attacks on their safety and independence, in recent years. Lawyers continue to be targeted for their involvement in human rights-related cases, or for their work denouncing government unaccountability or corruption. “Lawyers have also been identified with their clients and by extension their clients’ political affiliations or the offences of which they are accused”, the Committee said.
While encouraging governments to fully implement the provisions laid out in Recommendation No. R(2000)21 of the Committee of Ministers, the parliamentarians urged Council of Europe member States to ensure effective protection of the profession of lawyer, including by “prohibiting state interference in the legal profession and clearly identifying the specific activities that amount to prohibited interference”.
The adopted draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Aleksander Bashkin (Russian Federation, NR) calls for domestic legislative frameworks that guarantee “efficiency, independence and safety of lawyers’ work”, in particular by ensuring that national legislations and law enforcement practice improve the conditions and guarantees of lawyers’ work.
In a draft recommendation also adopted by the Committee, the parliamentarians reiterated its call on the Committee of Ministers to proceed with the drafting and adoption of a legally-binding instrument as a priority and reiterated the call made in PACE Recommendation 2121 (2018) to establish a platform for the protection of advocates from any interference with the exercise of their professional activities.