Increased pressure on lawyers means a deterioration in the human rights situation in the country

Advocacy
15:32 Fri 07.06.24 160 Reviews
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Recent legislative changes to the mobilization and military registration procedure have introduced additional responsibilities for men liable for military service. In particular, they have until July 16 to update their data. However, representatives of the TCC are not waiting for this date. Already today, they are demanding to see the relevant confirmations during the checks of military registration documents. This leads to conflict situations and, consequently, human rights violations. This raises the question of the role of lawyers providing professional legal aid.

Members of the Bar Council of Ukraine are discussing the problems of advocacy under martial law during a meeting held today, June 7, in Zakarpattia region.

Opening the event, Lidiya Izovitova, the President of the UNBA, BCU recalled cases of violation of the rights and guarantees of the legal profession by the military authorities.

In particular, on the eve of the meeting in Kharkiv, a lawyer was beaten by representatives of the TCC. This incident was considered in detail at an extraordinary meeting of the Bar Council of the region. In May, in Odesa region, a defense lawyer who was performing his duties was detained during a search and forcibly taken to the TCC. In Kyiv, a laptop and a phone were seized from a lawyer during a search, contrary to the investigating judge's ruling. In its publication, the Transcarpathian TCC accused lawyers who assist citizens in obtaining one-time financial assistance and pensions of making money from the grief of the families of heroes.

Such cases of arbitrariness of the authorities have become systemic.  Statistics show a threatening situation for the effective and safe professional activity of defense lawyers. And the Ukrainian National Bar Association, within the limits of its authority, responds to violations of the rights and guarantees of the practice of law and takes measures to eliminate them.

Because interference in the activities, violence against defense lawyers, illegal deprivation of liberty, seizure of personal belongings, including those containing attorney-client privilege, are all actions that not only impede the practice of law but also violate the human right to defense and legal aid. Therefore, the growing pressure on lawyers and the Bar threatens to deteriorate the human rights situation in Ukraine.

L. Izovitova reminded that the UNBA conveyed this position in its appeals to the Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov and the Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets. The UNBA also prepared and sent to the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada and the relevant committees a draft law on amendments to the Criminal Code to strengthen liability for obstructing the right to defense. The UNBA's initiative to establish liability for violation of the prohibition of identification of attorneys and clients has already been registered in the Verkhovna Rada. A working group of the UNBA members was also created to process the available materials, analyze the legislation and develop an algorithm for lawyers' response to illegal actions of state authorities. Regional bar councils should also provide their assistance in the preparation of recommendations.

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