December 18, 2023, 15:41

Persecution of Ukrainian lawyers in occupied Crimea: what steps should the state take to protect them today

Under the conditions of the occupation virtually the entire population of Ukrainian Crimea, including lawyers, have become hostages of the russian invaders. However, in order to prevent the persecution of Ukrainian lawyers, the state should already be working on implementation of a number of important steps.

Daria Svyrydova, Ukraine 5AM Coalition expert, Law Firm AZONES partner, made this statement during an event at the country’s main discussion platform BrainHub at Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

In particular, she noted that Ukraine could introduce state sanctions or facilitate the introduction of international sanctions against persons involved in persecution and interference in the professional activities of Ukrainian lawyers in Crimea.

Also, the expert added, the Ukrainian Bar Association should be already systematically recording and monitoring the facts of persecutions as well as assessing them. In addition, Daria Svyrydova is convinced that it is worth developing procedures for bringing lawyers who violate the rights of their clients and Ukrainian citizens under the occupation to disciplinary responsibility. She added that it is also necessary to define, formulate and make public Ukraine’s position on lawyers working in the occupation.

According to Daria Svyrydova, Ukraine could still turn to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and invite her to Ukraine so that she would have an opportunity to examine the situation with the persecution of lawyers under the occupation.

In addition, the expert noted that the issue of prosecution of lawyers should also be raised at PACE platforms, where the Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers is currently busy developing the convention aiming to improve the protection of lawyers of the Council of Europe Member States.

“It seems to us that this particular issue of threats to lawyers’ work amidst armed conflicts should also be taken into account when developing such an important document at the level of the Council of Europe,” Daria Svyrydova added.

BrainHub is the country’s main discussion platform created by Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. It brings together experts from the state and civil society sectors. BrainHub hosts intellectual discussions around the issues of the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It’s the birthplace of the best ideas that will become the foundation for the road map of Ukraine’s reconstruction in all sectors: economy, infrastructure, education, agriculture, security, digital, etc. 

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