November 2010 - European Commission published enlargement strategy and progress reports 2010
On 9 November 2010 the European Commission adopted its annual Enlargement package which contains its Enlargement Strategy, a document setting out goals and prospects for the coming year, progress reports of the EU candidate and potential candidate countries (Croatia, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/1999) and an opinion on the readiness of Albania and Montenegro to start accession negotiations. The CCBE – through its relevant national Bar Associations – provided input into the preparation of the reports. The documents may be accessed on the Commission’s website.
October 2009 - European Commission Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2009
The European Commission adopted its Enlargement Strategy 2009-2010 and made it public together with the Progress Reports 2009 for the candidate countries: Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99) on 14 October. These two important documents focus on the EU’s enlargement policy of the Western Balkan countries and Turkey, assessing the progress of the countries and the system of justice in general.
The CCBE, represented by the vice-chair of the PECO Committee, Maria Slazak, participated together with a number of representatives from national Bar Associations in a meeting with the European Commission in early June 2009 in order to discuss issues related to the profession in these countries.
October 2009 - CCBE participation in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
The Eastern Partnership was created by the European Commission as an initiative, which promotes democracy and good governance, supports economic and social development, and increases stability in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus countries: i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The European Commission - within the framework of the Eastern Partnership - established the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum “to support the further development of Civil Society Organisations and facilitate their dialogue with public authorities” in these countries. The CCBE communicated its interest in participating in the Forum and was granted membership this October. CCBE considers this involvement very relevant, as for many years now it carries on several tasks in many of these countries. The first meeting, and the launch of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, will be held on 16-17 November 2009 in Brussels. CCBE will be represented in the event by Ms Maria Slazak, the vice chair of PECO Committee.
TAIEX seminars on “The principle of the rule of law” (January 2009 - June 2009)
A series of seminars took place in the Balkans and Turkey over the last six months. They were organised by the European Commission (TAIEX), in cooperation with the CCBE. The seminars debated issues such as ‘The conception of the rule of law within the legal profession and in general’; ‘The Independence – necessity for the legal profession’; ‘Self regulation, structure and functions of Bars – the importance for the functional legal profession’; ‘How to ensure good qualifications of lawyers?’; ‘How to be a successful lawyer?’; ‘How to fight corruption in relation to the legal profession?’; ‘Access to Justice’. The seminars were designed for lawyers, judges and Ministry of Justice representatives, and aimed at enhancing cooperation within the legal profession and providing local legal practitioners with an opportunity for discussion and exchange of views with EU experts on rule of law topics. The first seminar was successfully implemented in Podgorica, Montenegro, in January 2009; others followed: Tirana, Albania, 7-8 May 2009; Belgrade, Serbia, 21-22 May 2009; and Ankara, Turkey, 4-5 June 2009.
March 2011 – CCBE sends additional letter to the Minister of Justice of Belarus
On 11 March 2011, the CCBE sent a letter to the Minister of Justice of Belarus expressing its concerns regarding the removal of licence from several Belarusian lawyers and attempts at preventing them from carrying out their professional duties.
The CCBE has been informed that at least five lawyers – Pavel Sapelka (lawyer of Andrey Sannikov, a presidential candidate), Vadzimer Toustsik, Tamara Harayeva, Tatsyana Aheyeva and her son Aleh Aheyev – have been disbarred. The CCBE has also learned that lawyers have had their attempts to hold private meetings with their clients continually frustrated or refused, have failed to receive copies of essential procedural documentation regarding their clients’ cases, and were not informed about their clients being moved from one detention facility to another.
The CCBE has urged the relevant Belarussian authorities to reinstate the licences of the above-mentioned lawyers and to ensure that lawyers in Belarus are able to perform their professional functions without fear of retaliation or any other negative consequences such as disciplinary sanctions.
January 2011 – CCBE expresses its concerns on the latest developments in Belarus
On 27 January 2011, the CCBE sent a letter to the Minister of Justice of Belarus expressing its concern regarding legal assistance and the situation lawyers are facing in Belarus.
The CCBE has been informed that a number of detained participants of the demonstration on the presidential election in Minsk have had difficulties in receiving the assistance of a lawyer at all or have received it inadequately (in terms of time, facilities and the respect of the confidentiality principle). The CCBE has also been informed that the Ministry of Justice has sent requests to the Minsk City Bar questioning the initiating of disciplinary proceedings against the lawyers; they face a real threat of being debarred.
The CCBE has urged the Minister of Justice of Belarus to guarantee full respect for the international standards envisaged in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990), in particular regarding adequate access to lawyers and legal services, freedom of expression of lawyers, independence of professional associations of lawyers and impartiality of disciplinary proceedings.
The European Parliament resolution of 20 January 2011 on the situation in Belarus also addresses these developments.
August 2009- CCBE expresses support for Kazakh lawyer
The CCBE sent a letter to the Chairman of the Kazakh National Security Committee and the Minister of Justice of Kazakhstan on 12 August 2009, concerning a lawyer who faces disbarment for critical statements he made to the mass media on the Kazakh law on state secrecy. The CCBE stressed in the letter the importance about safeguarding the freedom of expression of lawyers and the independence of the Bar Association.
June 2009 - European Union-Kazakhstan Civil Society Human Rights Seminar
The 1st European Union-Kazakhstan Civil Society Human Rights seminar was held in Almaty on 29 and 30 June 2009. Around seventy people participated in this seminar, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), public authorities and experts from a number of EU countries, Russia and former Soviet Union countries. The CCBE was represented by Fernando Piernavieja Niembro, Chair of the CCBE Access to Justice Committee and member of the Criminal Law and Human Rights Committees. The seminar essentially dealt with two issues: “The Judicial System” and “Conditions of Detention”. Participants have acknowledged on this occasion the importance of the human rights dimension of the EU-Kazakhstan strategic partnership and of the role placed on CSOs in this partnership. They stressed the role of the dialogue between civil society and national authorities, at national level, through enabling civil society to have a stronger input in drafting of laws during this process. Based on European and International standards and related case-law, the participants and the experts worked on several recommendations addressed to the Republic of Kazakhstan and its state authorities.
February 2009 - The President of the Union of Advocates of Kazakhstan (UAK), Tugel Anuar, participated in the CCBE roundtable on the Ukrainian law on the Bar on 26 September 2008 in Kyiv, and expressed his interest in the work of the CCBE in further contacts with the CCBE. He was invited to the PECO meeting in February in Vienna. The President reported about the general political and economic situation of his country and the developments which have taken place within the UAK in recent years. The CCBE considers it important to keep contact and exchange information with the UAK.