Human Rights

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.

If you know of any issue that should be brought to our attention, please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The increasing involvement of the ECBA in advocacy for Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings has led the ECBA to appoint a Human Rights Officer (HRO). 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.

The first ECBA-HRO was the Advisory Board Member Scott Crosby. Scott was a long time member of the ECBA and had a wide experience in taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights. As Scott Crosby sadly passed away on 25 April 2020, Alexis Anagnostakis has been appointed by the Executive Committee of the ECBA as the actual HR Officer on 21 September 2020. 

Given that the demands of human rights law for the work of the ECBA were steadily increasing and could not 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:

Nicola Canestrini   Nancy Hollander
Federico Cappelletti   Tomasz Kodrzycki

Vânia Costa Ramos

  Ondrej Laciak
Walter De Agostino   Mihai Mares
Marius Dietrichson   Ales Michalevic
Paul Garlick   Jonathan Mitchell
Thomas Garner   Rebecca Niblock
Sergey Golubok   Kevin Roberts
Robin Grey   Sylvain Savolainen
Omar Hegazi   Alex Tinsley
Maria Hessen Jacobsen    


The ECBA “Scott Crosby” Human Rights Award 

The ECBA and their Human Rights Committee have decided to institutionalize the ECBA Human Rights Award, named after our late friend and passionate human rights activist Scott Crosby, to be awarded once a year to distinguished lawyers who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and sacrifice to uphold fundamental values.

The objective of the ECBA is to honour the efforts of lawyers and at the same time raise awareness of the core values of the legal profession. 

The ECBA Scott Crosby Human Rights Award 2022, handed by Vincent Asselineau, ECBA Chair, and Alexis Anagnostakis, HR Officer, went to the Ukrainian National Bar Association, represented at the Autumn Conference by Dr. Valentyn Gvozdiy, Vice President of the UNBA and ECBA member. The award honours the efforts of the Ukrainian lawyers for their determination and sacrifice in times of war, to uphold fundamental values and the rule of law in their country during the current impermissible military aggression against Ukraine. 


The receivers of the ECBA Human Rights Award 2021 were Judge Igor Tuleya and the Dean of the Warsaw Bar Association, lawyer Mikołaj Pietrzak, both from Poland.

HR Officer Alexis Anagnostakis, ECBA Chair Vincent Asselineau and Polish lawyer Mikołaj Pietrzak


The European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) has intervened as a third party in a significant case before the US Court of Military Commission Review. The case revolves around Mr. Abd al-Rahim Hussein al-Nashiri, a detainee imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, facing charges that could result in the death penalty. Notably, he was subjected to brutal torture during his time in CIA black sites.

This case hinges on an appeal by the US Government against the decision of Judge (and Col.) Lanny J. Acosta Jr., which suppressed all evidence tainted by the aforementioned torture.

The ECBA firmly endorses the view that evidence obtained through torture should be categorically excluded from legal proceedings. Torture fundamentally undermines the principles of the rule of law in civilized societies. Therefore, the ECBA strongly advocates for an absolute prohibition on the use of evidence obtained by torture.

The amicus curiae brief and this entire initiative have been expertly crafted and coordinated by Mr. Nicola Canestrini, a dedicated member of the ECBA's Human Rights Committee.

ECBA and other different human rights and justice organisations call on the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) ahead of the sixth anniversary of his disappearance on August 13.

And as we near “The International Day of the Disappeared” on August 30, we also condemn the Chinese government’s use of enforced disappearances as a tactic to silence and control activists, religious practitioners, Uyghurs and Tibetans, and even high-profile celebrities, entrepreneurs, and government officials.

Gao Zhisheng was one of the first human rights lawyers to emerge in the early 2000s and he became an important leader of China’s rights defense movement. He took on cases to help migrant workers and defend spiritual practitioners, including Falun Gong adherents and Christians. Gao wrote open letters to China’s top political leadership to call attention to the plight of Falun Gong practitioners and the abuse he had suffered while defending them.

In 2006, Gao was sentenced to three years in prison on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power,” and after being released on parole, he was repeatedly disappeared for extended periods and tortured by police between 2007 and 2011. In December 2011, state media reported that Gao had been imprisoned in the Uyghur region to serve out his sentence after violating terms of his parole.

He was then released in 2014 but remained under house arrest.
Gao's relatives in China, as well as fellow rights lawyers and activists, who previously remained in contact with him, have not heard from him since August 13, 2017.

Ever since then, Chinese authorities have, implausibly, claimed that Gao is not under any “criminal coercive measures.”
Over the past six years, Gao has effectively remained in a state of enforced disappearance.

Click here to read the whole petition.