Our Association granted the submissions for report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Dr. Diego García-Sayán to the Human Rights Council on protection of lawyers from undue interferences. We pointed the Rapporteur that European Court established in its Decision on 16 December 2020 in case 20958/14 that Russian de-facto “authorities” established in the Crimea administrative practices of illegal extending application of Russian law to the Crimea with the result that from 27 February 2014 the “courts” in the Crimea could not be considered to have been “established by law” within the meaning of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In its submission Association stressed that Russian “authorities” established in the Crimea the organizational and normative regime that makes lawyers impossible to exercise their professional activities in favor of their clients in a free and independent manner. Persons, allowed by such “authorities” to act as a “lawyer” has to do it in the “Russian legal framework” and under full control of the Russian special services and punitive bodies. “ARC” pointed to the Rapporteur that there are no mechanisms in the Crimea to prevent and/or punish interferences with the free and independent exercise of the legal profession, and that Russian “authorities” have no goal to establish the rule of law in the peninsula, even the “rule of Russian law”.
Association stressed in the document that all persons who wish to be a lawyer in the Crimea, have to get the “Russian citizenship” and to establish a confidential cooperation with Russian special services that is obligatory for such candidates. Submission stated that “Association of Lawyers of Russia” as government-controlled structure of Russian lawyers, established illegally own branches in the Crimea, but the effectiveness of their protection the lawyers is extremely small. As a fresh example the case of Edem Semedlyaev was pointed who was “fined” and “arrested” in November, 2021 by the “Central District Court” in Simferopol just for attempts to help his clients from “Crimean Solidarity” in the political-grounded case. All statements of the “association of lawyers” and some lawyers’ actions on this issue gave no practical result. We informed the Rapporteur that there is no available statistics how many lawyers were punished in the Crimea since 2014 as Russian de-facto “authorities” do not make it public.
Common information of Russia’s intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference to the lawyers’ activities in the Crimea is reflected already in the annual reports of UN Secretary General 47/58, 76/260 and periodic reports of UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. But Association’s document drew attention of the Special Rapporteur to the example of the intimidation, hindrance, stigmatization and harassment, done both by Russia against the lawyer, who concentrated his professional activities on the help to the victims of the attempted annexation of the Crimea, exactly – the expert of our Association professor Borys Babin.
Dr. Babin since 2014 presented more than twenty Crimean individuals and legal entities in cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights. He published more that thirty expert and scientific publications regarding the human rights situation in the Crimea and make strong civil activities for making common attention to those issues, presented own reports on the UN and OSCE conferences. In 2015 Dr. Babin was appointed as the Agent of Government of Ukraine before the European Court of Human Rights and in 2017 he was appointed as the Permanent Representative of President of Ukraine in the Crimea. Inter alia Dr. Babin participated in preparing the Ukraine’s legal position in the above-pointed interstate case 20958/14 before the European Court of Human Rights.
So Russia-controlled media made some defamation publication against Dr. Babin, and in 2018 he was included to the Russia’s sanction lists established by the Russian Governments’ prescript 1656 on 25th December, 2018. In 2021 Russian de-facto “authorities” in the Crimea accused Dr. Babin in the “terrorist attack, public appeals and justification of terrorist activities, organization of a terrorist community and participation in it, sabotage, ecocide, an act of international terrorism” just for his legal activities for help the victims of Russian attempted annexation of peninsula.
“ARC” stressed in its submission that Russian “authorities” did not provide in the Crimea the measures because of the Covid-19 pandemic, affected the exercise of the independence of the legal profession or security of lawyers. Our expert, Professor Borys Babin presented the report on the relevant violation the human rights in the Crimea and the problems of relevant legal work in the World Law Congress 2021 in Barranquilla where the Rapporteur also made his statement. Association pointed that Special Rapporteur’s visit to Ukraine, including the Crimea would enable him to make a first-hand impression of the situation with the lawyers’ protection and will help to exercise of the legal profession in the region of conflict.