Strong reprimand to the advocate for expressing his opinion

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Advocate Mushegh Shushanyan was strongly reprimanded for having expressed his opinion in the press. The Board of the Chamber of Advocates made Mushegh Shushanyan's statement at the “Hraparak.am” and the “aravot. am” websites an issue for discussion to subject him to disciplinary liability.

It should be reminded that last year on June 21, the court removed Varuzhan Avetisyan, a member of the "Sasna Tsrer", for his making a call to the people at the court trial. A break was announced, after which Mushegh Shushanyan did not return to the court room, claiming that Varuzhan Avetisyan did not allow him to participate in the case hearings without him. Artush Gabrielyan assessed that act of Mushegh Shushanyan as disrespectful attitude to the court and applied a judicial sanction, sending an application to the Chamber of Advocates to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the advocate.

The Chamber decided to subject M. Shushanyan to disciplinary sanction. In his interview with Hraparak.am, Shushanyan assessed the Board of the Chamber of Advocates as an extraordinary court and a punitive body for a part of advocates.

“It was not relating to my case alone; I would like to mention disciplinary proceedings against Tigran Yegoryan. It was simply a shame to make such a decision. As a result of those proceedings, it became clear what had happened and what were behind the disciplinary proceedings against Tigran Yegoryan, and in general, what purpose does it pursue. I would like to mention that yesterday in the afternoon I sent a note to the Board demanding them to provide me a number of documents and information in order I would be able to present my explanations and position, and in my notification I offered that seven members of the Board should have to be withdrawn.

It were those members of the Board who were involved in the case of Araik Papikyan. Though they had quashed the proceedings for his having left the courtroom, but they had done it on the ground that the motion for applying a judicial sanction was accepted with a violation of law. At the same time, they expressed their position about his having left the courtroom. In my motion, I qualified this as an illiterate legal position.

Those advocates were Nelly Harutyunyan, Hrant Ananyan, Melanya Arustamyan, Simon Babayan, Tigran Khurshudyan, Karen Mejlumyan and Arayik Ghazaryan. The Board, however, did not examine my motions and promptly made a decision on subjecting me to disciplinary sanction. I was reprimanded. All these facts give me grounds to say that the Board has become an extraordinary court and a punitive body for some of the advocates,” Taron Simonyan, the chairperson of the hearings, read advocate Mushegh Shushanyan’s words.

On the website of “aravot. Am”, the advocate qualified the position of the Chamber as an “illiterate legal position” that in any case the advocate's leaving the courtroom is unacceptable regardless of the client's position.

 Answering the question of what legal norm is allowing that, Mushegh Shushanyan replied that he did not want to open the brackets. He will speak on this issue after he has received the decision.

Both parties were not present at the hearings of the Board. After having returned from the consultation room, the Board of the Chamber of advocates decided to subject Mushegh Shushanyan to disciplinary action, that is, to a strong reprimand.

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On July 13, at “Helsinki Association” human rights defender NGOYerevan office,the first meeting of the “Institutional Development for the Organization” component was held. It wasdesigned within the framework of the "AdvocatingAdvocates’ Rights in Armenia" project funded by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). The meeting was attended by members of the organization, the staff and volunteers.

The Eurasia Partnership Foundation’s team supports the implementation of the organizational development component. The work is aimed at promoting sustainable development of the Helsinki Association as a CSO, through strengthening the capacity of the organization as an actor to advance and oversee reform, to improve services and to contribute to the development of more effective governance in human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and right.

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On July 12, U.S. Embassy political officer Somer Bessire-Briers met with “Helsinki Association” human rights NGO (HAHR) President Nina Karapetyants and Director of the Board Arayik Papikyan to discuss current events in the judiciary field. Particularly, the participants discussed Karen Kungurtsev’s case, which has been in process for almost five years and is now in the Court of Cassation. Bessire-Briers emphasized that the U.S. Embassy has been following the case closely for the past several years and will continue to monitor the next phase of the case.
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Protecting human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States

Non-official translation

Recommendation 2133 (2018) Provisional version

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly

Origin - Assembly debate on 26 June 2018 (22nd Sitting) (see Doc. 14567, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Egidijus Vareikis). Text adopted by the Assembly on 26 June 2018 (22nd Sitting).

  1. 1. Referring to its Resolution 2225 (2018)on protecting human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States, the Parliamentary Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

1.1. continue its dialogue with human rights defenders, in particular by holding regular exchanges of views with them, in the framework of the work of its subordinate bodies;

1.2. support the work of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in the field of protecting human rights defenders, including by ensuring that sufficient financial and human resources are available to the mandate;

1.3. establish a platform, similar to the Platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists, for the protection of human rights defenders, or another mechanism for monitoring and reacting to cases of reprisals against human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States, as also called for in Recommendation 2121 (2018) on the case for drafting a European convention on the profession of lawyer;

1.4. request information from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the implementation to date of his proposal to establish a mechanism for regularly reporting on and reacting to cases of intimidation of human rights defenders co-operating with Council of Europe bodies, and share this information with the Assembly;

1.5. streamline its work in this area through better co-ordination with the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations, the Secretary General, the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights and the Assembly;

1.6. adopt without delay the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of the civil society space in Europe, as prepared by the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH);

1.7. organise a high-level seminar to mark the 10th anniversary of the Committee of Ministers Declaration on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 9 December 1998, as recommended by the CDDH;

1.8. strengthen its co-operation on the protection of human rights defenders with other international organisations, in particular the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations.

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Sri Lanka: Deplorable threats against human rights defender

The Sri Lankan authorities must urgently take action against those threatening human rights defender Sandhya Eknaligoda, Amnesty International said today.

Over recent days, Sandhya Eknaligoda, a distinguished campaigner against enforced disappearances and the wife of disappeared cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, has been subject to a barrage of hate, abuse, intimidation, harassment and death threats on social media.

“The threats against Sandhya Eknaligoda are extremely worrying. The Sri Lankan authorities must urgently and effectively take appropriate action against those who seek to cause her harm,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

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