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5 September 2017

Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors

Dear members of the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate,

dear members of the IAP,

In the run-up to the annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Beijing, China, the undersigned civil society organisations urge the IAP to live up to its vision and bolster its efforts to preserve the integrity of the profession.

Increasingly, in many regions of the world, in clear breach of professional integrity and fair trial standards, public prosecutors use their powers to suppress critical voices.

In China, over the last two years, dozens of prominent lawyers, labour rights advocates and activists have been targeted by the prosecution service1. Many remain behind bars, convicted or in prolonged detention for legal and peaceful activities protected by international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Azerbaijan is in the midst of a major crackdown on civil rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, imposing hefty sentences on fabricated charges in trials that make a mockery of justice2. In Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey many prosecutors play an active role in the repression of human rights defenders, and in committing, covering up or condoning other grave human rights abuses3.

Patterns of abusive practices by prosecutors in these and other countries ought to be of grave concern to the professional associations they belong to, such as the IAP.

Upholding the rule of law and human rights is a key aspect of the profession of a prosecutor, as is certified by the IAP’s Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors, that explicitly refer to the importance of observing and protecting the right to a fair trial and other human rights at all stages of work4.

Maintaining the credibility of the profession should be a key concern for the IAP. This requires explicit steps by the IAP to introduce a meaningful human rights policy. Such steps will help to counter devaluation of ethical standards in the profession, revamp public trust in justice professionals and protect the organisation and its members from damaging reputational impact and allegations of whitewashing or complicity in human rights abuses.

For the second year in a row, civil society appeals to the IAP to honour its human rights responsibilities by introducing a tangible human rights policy. In particular:

We urge the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate to:

  • introduce human rights due diligence and compliance procedures for new and current members, including scope for complaint mechanisms with respect to institutional and individual members, making information public about its institutional members and creating openings for stakeholder engagement from the side of civil society and victims of human rights abuses1.

We call on individual members of the IAP to:

  • raise the problem of a lack of human rights compliance mechanisms at the IAP and thoroughly discuss the human rights implications before making decisions about hosting IAP meetings;
  • identify relevant human rights concerns before travelling to IAP conferences and meetings and raise these issues with their counterparts from countries where politically-motivated prosecution and human rights abuses by prosecution authorities are reported by intergovernmental organisations and internationally renowned human rights groups.

Supporting organisations:

  1. Amnesty International
  2. Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Benin
  3. Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa, Kwekwe
  4. Article 19, London
  5. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  6. Asia Justice and Rights, Jakarta
  7. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Chiang Mai
  8. Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong SAR
  9. Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong SAR
  10. Association for Legal Intervention, Warsaw
  11. Association Humanrights.ch, Bern
  12. Association Malienne des Droits de l'Homme, Bamako
  13. Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement, Kyiv
  14. Associazione Antigone, Rome
  15. Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House in exile, Vilnius
  16. Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Minsk
  17. Bir-Duino Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
  18. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Sofia
  19. Canadian Human Rights International Organisation, Toronto
  20. Center for Civil Liberties, Kyiv
  21. Centre for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Tirana
  22. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Moscow
  23. Center for the Judiciary Watch of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Seoul
  24. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, Hong Kong SAR
  25. Civil Rights Defenders, Stockholm
  26. Civil Society Institute, Yerevan
  27. Citizen Watch, St. Petersburg
  28. Collective Human Rights Defenders “Laura Acosta” International Organization COHURIDELA, Toronto
  29. Comunidad de Derechos Humanos, La Paz
  30. Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Lima
  31. Destination Justice, Phnom Penh
  32. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Kampala
  33. Equality Myanmar, Yangon
  34. Faculty of Law - University of Indonesia, Depok
  35. Fair Trials, London
  36. Federation of Equal Journalists, Almaty
  37. Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, Hanoi
  38. Free Press Unlimited, Amsterdam
  39. Front Line Defenders, Dublin
  40. Foundation ADRA Poland, Wroclaw
  41. German-Russian Exchange, Berlin
  42. Gram Bharati Samiti, Jaipur
  43. Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor, Yerevan
  44. Helsinki Association of Armenia, Yerevan
  45. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw
  46. Human Rights Center Azerbaijan, Baku
  47. Human Rights Center Georgia, Tbilisi
  48. Human Rights Club, Baku
  49. Human Rights Embassy, Chisinau
  50. Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo
  51. Human Rights Information Center, Kyiv
  52. Human Rights Matter, Berlin
  53. Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Vilnius
  54. Human Rights Now, Tokyo
  55. Human Rights Without Frontiers International, Brussels
  56. Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Budapest
  57. IDP Women Association "Consent", Tbilisi
  58. IMPARSIAL, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Jakarta
  59. Index on Censorship, London
  60. Indonesian Legal Roundtable, Jakarta
  61. Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Jakarta
  62. Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana
  63. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Tbilisi
  64. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  65. International Partnership for Human Rights, Brussels
  66. International Service for Human Rights, Geneva
  67. International Youth Human Rights Movement
  68. Jerusalem Institute of Justice, Jerusalem
  69. Jordan Transparency Center, Amman
  70. Justiça Global, Rio de Janeiro
  71. Justice and Peace Netherlands, The Hague
  72. Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Almaty
  73. Kharkiv Regional Foundation Public Alternative, Kharkiv
  74. Kosovo Center for Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption - KUND 16, Prishtina
  75. Kosova Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims, Prishtina
  76. Lawyers for Lawyers, Amsterdam
  77. Lawyers for Liberty, Kuala Lumpur
  78. League of Human Rights, Brno
  79. Macedonian Helsinki Committee, Skopje
  80. Masyarakat Pemantau Peradilan Indonesia (Mappi FH-UI), Depok
  81. Moscow Helsinki Group, Moscow
  82. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Kampala
  83. Netherlands Helsinki Committee, The Hague
  84. Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), Utrecht University, Utrecht
  85. NGO "Aru ana", Aktobe
  86. Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO), Bahawalpur
  87. Pen International, London
  88. Philippine Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Manila
  89. Promo-LEX Association, Chisinau
  90. Protection International, Brussels
  91. Protection of Rights Without Borders, Yerevan
  92. Public Association Dignity, Astana
  93. Public Association "Our Right", Kokshetau
  94. Public Fund "Ar.Ruh.Hak", Almaty
  95. Public Fund "Ulagatty Zhanaya", Almaty
  96. Public Verdict Foundation, Moscow
  97. Regional Center for Strategic Studies, Baku/ Tbilisi
  98. Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Lagos
  99. Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw
  100. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Petaling Jaya
  101. Swiss Helsinki Association, Lenzburg
  102. Transparency International Anti-corruption Center, Yerevan
  103. Transparency International Austrian chapter, Vienna
  104. Transparency International Česká republika, Prague
  105. Transparency International Deutschland, Berlin
  106. Transparency International EU Office, Brussels
  107. Transparency International France, Paris
  108. Transparency International Greece, Athens
  109. Transparency International Greenland, Nuuk
  110. Transparency International Hungary, Budapest
  111. Transparency International Ireland, Dublin
  112. Transparency International Italia, Milan
  113. Transparency International Moldova, Chisinau
  114. Transparency International Nederland, Amsterdam
  115. Transparency International Norway, Oslo
  116. Transparency International Portugal, Lisbon
  117. Transparency International Romania, Bucharest
  118. Transparency International Secretariat, Berlin
  119. Transparency International Slovenia, Ljubljana
  120. Transparency International España, Madrid
  121. Transparency International Sverige, Stockholm
  122. Transparency International Switzerland, Bern
  123. Transparency International UK, London
  124. UNITED for Intercultural Action the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants, refugees and minorities, Budapest
  125. United Nations Convention against Corruption Civil Society Coalition
  126. Villa Decius Association, Krakow
  127. Vietnam's Defend the Defenders, Hanoi
  128. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, Saigon
  129. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  130. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Harare

 

1 See, for example, Options for Promoting Human Rights Compliance by the International Association of Prosecutors, policy brief, October 2016.

1 As documented by a number of internationally renowned human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and the ICJ. See, for example, the HRW World Report 2017, China and Tibet, available at: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/china-and-tibet; China: call for action at UN on lawyers and other human rights defenders, available at: https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/UN-HRC34-China-JointLette...

2 The Functioning of the Judicial System in Azerbaijan and its Impact on the Fair Trial of Human Rights Defenders, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Netherlands Helsinki Committee 2016, available at: http://www.defendersorviolators.info/judiciary-in-azerbaijan.

3 See, for example: Human Rights and the Professional Responsibility of Judges and Prosecutors in the Work of CCJE and CCPE. Observations to the CCJE-CCPE Joint Report on “Challenges for Judicial Independence and Impartiality in the Member States of the Council of Europe”, Netherlands Helsinki Committee and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights 2017, available at: https://www.nhc.nl/assets/uploads/2017/06/20170331-Observations-to-CCJE-...

4 Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors adopted by the International Association of Prosecutors on 23 April 1999.