The advocates of Dnipropetrovsk region picketed the police to stop the attack on the profession
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On 13 August advocates of Dnipropetrovsk region, under the walls of the General Directorate of the National Police in Dnipropetrovsk region, staged a peaceful protest.
Also in the morning of 13 August, advocates in Kryvyi Rih turned out to protest. The reason for public protest was beating in Kryvyi Rih of advocate Oksana Ragozina.
Advocates are outraged that their professional rights and guarantees of the practice of law started to be violated more often, and law enforcement agencies do not contribute to the identification and bringing of the perpetrators to justice. In addition there are more and more cases when the violators of advocates' professional rights are law enforcement officers.
The reason for holding the picket was a rapid increase in the level of criminal obstruction of professional activities, threats of violence against advocate by law enforcement bodies; lack of adequate legal response to these violations; effective impunity of law enforcement officers involved in violations of advocates' professional rights and guarantees to practice law.
Following the results of the peaceful assembly, the advocates managed to reach certain agreements on the following issues:
1. On the basis of the appeal of the Bar Council of Dnipropetrovsk region concerning committing a criminal offence on the fact of physical violence applied by law enforcement officers to advocate O.V. Ragozina during the execution of her professional duties as an advocate, there will be entered information to the URPI under art. 397 of the CC of Ukraine, the event happened on 9 August this year in Kryvyi Rih.
2. The representative of the bar community will be included in the GD NP Commission in Dnipropetrovsk region, which conducts an official investigation on the fact of physical violence applied by law enforcement officials to the lawyer Ragozina O.V. during the execution of her professional duties as an advocate.
3. There were coordinated joint activities between the law society and the GD NP in Dnipropetrovsk region regarding the prevention, elimination and mitigation of violations of advocates' professional rights and guarantees of practice of law during planning and carrying out of investigative actions.
In addition, the Bar Council of Dnipropetrovsk region appealed to the GD NP in Dnipropetrovsk region with written requirements:
- to carry out the analysis of facts specified in the appeal and to provide statistical data for the period of 2017-2018, regarding the disclosure and submission to the court of indictments under art. 397-400 of the CC of Ukraine;
- to establish the real causes and personalities of concrete officers responsible for fraud concerning the URPI;
- to find out the reasons for delaying the pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings following the advocates' appeals;
- to establish the reasons for the rapid growth, level of deliberate criminal interference with the professional activity, threats of violence against lawyers on the part of the NP staff in Dnipropetrovsk region.
The UNBA emphasizes that in recent weeks the growth in the number of attacks on advocates and the bar self-government bodies rises throughout Ukraine. As the only professional organization of advocates, the UNBA has repeatedly appealed to the leadership of the state, law enforcement agencies and international partners regarding interference with advocates' professional activity, assault against advocates in high-profile cases, attacks on the bar self-government bodies, blocking their activities, and the like. Now the UNBA states the lack of adequate legal response to these violations; actual impunity of law enforcement officers involved in violations of advocates' professional rights and guarantees to practice law. At the national level the attack on the legal profession takes place with the participation of pseudo-activists, representatives of political forces and law enforcement agencies. This also involves a group of individuals who have made repeated attempts of raider capture of the bar self-government bodies and currently are under disciplinary action.
Since the end of July there have been 6 cases of attacks on lawyers in high-profile criminal cases, as well as on the premises of the bar self-government bodies. In particular, on 31 July, representatives of a right-wing organization C14 blocked the premises of the UNBA, where there was being held the meeting of the Committee for the protection of the advocates' professional rights and guarantees to practice law, and on 2 August, there happened a violent seizure of the UNBA premises and blocking of the QDCB meeting in the city of Kyiv. Despite the UNBA appeal to the leadership of the state and law enforcement agencies, there is still no counteracting response to the violations of the rights of advocates and the legal profession on the whole.
In a situation of real threat of destruction of the independence the Bar Institute the UNBA supports the peaceful protest of advocates in Dnipropetrovsk region and encourages lawyers to active public position in defense of the right to exercise the profession for the sake of preserving the constitutional rights of citizens to professional legal assistance.
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