Disgraced Belarusian counsels support their Ukrainian colleagues
A group of the Belarusian counsels
which were persecuted by the Belarusian authorities addressed their
Ukrainian colleagues with the words of support. They filed an
appropriate letter to the Supreme Qualification and Disciplinary
Commission of the Ukrainian Bar Association.
"We, former Belarusian counsels, including those who were deprived of the right to profession for bona fide implementation of professional duties, learned from a statement of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union for Human Rights about the cases of suspension and cessation of the law practice of a number of Ukrainian lawyers and the consideration of a large number of disciplinary cases. Among the figurants of these cases there are such counsels as Vladymyr Vysotskyj, Roman Martynovskyj, Mikolay Siryj, Volha Moshkarynets, Nadiya Baranska, Larysa Herasko and others (overall, more than 20 persons). There is also information about the threat of criminal prosecution of the Ukrainian counsels which don't recognize the present composition of the Bar self-government structures.
… The reason for the punishment of
the counsels was, in particular, their assessment of some aspects of
the new Criminal-Process Code of the Ukraine and voicing their
personal position concerning the legality of the decisions of one of
the assemblies of counsels. To our mind, such cases, as well as the
recent information about the split in the Ukrainian Bar, witness the
upcoming deep crisis of the institute of the Bar in the
Belarusian counsels warn their Ukrainian colleagues that "similar events took place in Belarus in 2011, which lead to the actual liquidation of the independence of the Bar in our country. The endless examinations of counsels by the Ministry of Justice, involvement of the Bar self-government in the persecution of counsels, constant pretensions in connection with the critical speeches of counsels in the press and mass re-attestations of counsels eventually resulted in the deprivation of some of them of licenses and forced retirement of others.
As a result of the indifference of the majority of counsels and an active interference of the state with the activity of the independent institution the present edition of the new law of the Republic of Belarus "About the Bar and the legal practice" which was initially planned as a progressive document, completely deprived the Bar of independent and turned it into a structural subdivision of the Ministry of Justice.
Remembering that the Ukrainian counsels and human rights defenders were the first to raise their voices in support of the protection of the Belarusian Bar in January 2011, we join the voices of defenders of the Bar independence and express our support to the Ukrainian colleagues who are subjected to pressurization."
The address to the Ukrainian lawyers was signed by: