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.

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

 

The ECBA Human Rights Committee would like to join other international voices and issue a statement expressing the concern over the recent sentencing of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer in Iran.

According to reports, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to the exhausting term of 33 years in prison – and, horrifically, 148 lashes for allegedly spreading information against the state, insulting Iran’s supreme leader, and spying.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is the winner of the 2012 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. She is a human rights lawyer well known for defending several women who were prosecuted for peacefully protesting against the compulsory wearing of the veil in Iran. Throughout the course of her career, she has also defended cases of political interest, helping people such as prisoners of conscience, human rights activists, and minors facing the death penalty.

The ECBA is deeply concerned about the increasing pressure on lawyers in Iran – and rightfully so. Cases involving politically sensitive matters, such as women’s rights, or cases related to national security, are becoming increasingly fraught with trouble, and even danger.

Attention must be drawn to the fact that according to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, in particular Principles 16 and 18 on Guarantees for the Functioning of Lawyers, it is stated that:

Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics. Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.

In view of the above, the ECBA Human Rights Committee urges the Iranian authorities to overturn Sotoudeh’s sentencing, and restore her freedom as soon as possible, since her conviction is solely based on her professional activity as a lawyer.

It is also essential that the government now undertake all necessary measures to guarantee that, going forward, all lawyers in Iran are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment, in order to preserve the independence and integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.

Click here for the Statement in PDF-format
29 October 2019

The ECBA has co-signed the petition initiated by Lawyers for Lawyers which has been co-signed by bar associations, other lawyers organisations and legal professionals from 49 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America expressed deep concern over the increasing attacks against lawyers in the Philippines and the oppressive working environment they face since the start of President Duterte’s administration. 

 To read more click here