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Home arrow newsitems arrow Bad Times for WhistleBlowers ? 2018 International Human Rights Foundation René Cassin ECHR contest

Bad Times for WhistleBlowers ? 2018 International Human Rights Foundation René Cassin ECHR contest

Written by ACM
Friday, 06 April 2018
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*Strasbourg/ECHR/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "Eurofora", International Human Rights' Foundation "René Cassin"'s Chairman, former Long-Time ECHR President, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, appeared Adamant :

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- "We did Not Judge the Content of this Case. If we had done that, the Outcome would, most probably, be quite Different !", he ensured us.


He was Replying to "Eurofora"s Questions about the UnExpected Award of the Prestigious, Annual "René Cassin" Contest's Prize for 2018, Not to the Team which pleaded for a persecuted and oppressed WhistleBlower sacrificing her career in order to Reveal a Big Scandal of Government-ordered Murders, But, on the Contrary, Surprisingly, to an Opposite Team of Young Jurists, who had seeked Justifications for such an awful Regime...


- In Fact, President Costa was pointing at the Same Direction with Strasbourg University's Professor Florence Rohmer-Benoit, who had just stressed, Earlier, to "Eurofora", that the Jury's Decision to give the "Rene Cassin" Award for 2018 to the Team which Defended that Controversial "Government", in the present Mock-Hearings at the ECHR, had mainly "Focused on their Way to Deal with the Legal Proceedings" in such kind of cases, in general, and Not on the Substance of the Particular (Imaginary) Affair, which had simply given a technical pretext for this Annual Competition.

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+ And, "indeed, there was an Overwhelming Majority, almost a quasi-unanimity on the Choice that we made" in Awarding the (2018) Prize to the Defenders, (i.e. the Team which represented the State whose Government had reportedly ordered targetted killings, and put Heavy Sanctions on the WhistleBlower who tried to Reveal that Scandal), said to "Eurofora" Harry Roselmack, a well known Black French Martinican TV Journalist himself too, (Radios, TF1, Euronews, etc), who had been Exceptionaly Chosen to Chair the ECHR Mock-Legal Hearing, (playing even the prestigious Role of ECHR's President !)..

 
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- So that, in Response to "Eurofora"s 2nd Question : - "But, aren't YOU Afraid to be Criticized by Most Collegue Journalists for Letting Down a Whistle-Blower, (who acted in the name of Freedom of Expression, in a case where a Journalist was Killed in suspicious circumstances) ?", (as we asked, Half Joking, Half Seriously), Roselmack (who has just Won a Prize in UK's "Chelsea Film Festival" for his 2017 new film "Fractures", around the Hard Issue of Deadly Islamist Terrorism's pernicious propaganda), reacted with very Calm Smile, pointing anew at what he presented as a "Widespread, General Feeling", among Most Members of the jury.             

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(The 1st Black President of ECHR looks Friendly - René Cassin aiding...)


However, it's also a Fact that, at least at First Sight, a Strong Impression results by simply Reading the main Contents of the (Imaginary) Case chosen for 2018's Mock-Legal Proceedings inside the ECHR's great Chamber in Strasbourg, that the "Good" Guys, Obviously, couldn't Stand but Only in Favour of the Complaint lodged by the Whistle-Blower (a Young Woman Civil Servant at a Ministry, Fired, even Striped from her Nationality, and Prosecuted for Treason, etc), against the Government of a State seriously accused to have Ordered Targetted Killings of several Individuals, that some had Tried to timely Denounce in Public, through a Journalist (another Lady), who had, finally, been found Dead, Later-on, in non-elucidated circumstances...


A fortiori when that Complaint (mainly for Violations of the Human Rights to Freedom of Expression, Fair Trial, etc), had been quite Efficiently Presented, by a Team of Young Students of Law from the Angers University, who (by another Striking Coincidence) were All Young Ladies  : i.e. with more than 5 Women for a Total of 5 Persons on the "Good" Side of Supporters of the Truth... (Which, by the way, is also Feminine, as Word, in the Original French Language in which the "Rene Cassin" Annual Competition traditionally takes place, with the Participation of several Dozens of Universities almost from all over Europe and beyond, including this time, f.ex., in addition to Paris, Strasbourg, Grenoble, etc, also Switzerland, Bruges' "College of Europe", Romania, Armenia, the Netherlands/Maastricht, Brussels, Moscow, etc, among the Finalists).

 


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- But, as also the Experienced, former Long-Time CoE's Director-General on Legal and Human Rights issues, Philippe Boillat from Switzerland, (a Member of Today's "Court" in ECHR's main Room), agreed with "Eurofora", it's precisely this rare Overload so Many "Good" Arguments and Noble Values to support, from the Side of that WhistleBlower's Legal Complaint on Basic Human Rights grounds, that might have Incited its Team to Rely, perhaps, too much, on the intrinseque Value of the Content of its Cause, that it looked a little-bit ...Too Calm and almost Sure to Win.


- While, on the Contrary, the obviously too "Hard" job of the Adverse Team : that of the Defenders of the above-mentioned State's Government, who were Obliged to represent, apparently, the "Bad" Guy, (i.e. a Government seriously accused to Order Targetted Killings, and harshly persecutes the WhistleBlower who dares Reveal that Scandal in the Public : Comp. Supra), seems to have kind of ...Stimulated the Other 2 Young Students of Law, (them : All Young Men !), Obliging them to Make much More and Hard Efforts, Struggling with even more Fighting Spirit, etc., in order to Try to Face the Huge Challenge that they were Facing in such a thorny affair...


+ Moreover, they (as Real Human Persons), were ... "Innocent" themselves, since their assigned Role as Legal Defenders of that State, had Not been Freely Chosen, But, on the Contrary, it had been Imposed upon them, "by Drawing Lots", as the Chairwoman of this 2018 "René Cassin" International Competition, Professor in Law, Peggy Ducoulombier, said to "Eurofora".


>>> And, Indeed, one main Line that they adopted in Defense, was, apparently, Inspired by the Substance of Ducoulombier's own PhD Thesis, which she had dedicated to the analysis of "Contradictions Between Human Rights" ! (here at the ECHR, for Strasbourg's University, where she returned after Working also in Scotland/Aberdeen, UK, with American/USA Universitarians, as well as the CoE itself, etc)...


=> Thus, f.ex., to the Freedom of Expression, they Opposed the Protection of Private/Family Life and of Personal Data, (f.ex. even of the State Agents supposed to have been Ordered to facilitate of commit Targetted Killings, but Risked to see their own Family Home Address, Mobile Phone, etc. thrown to the Public, etc), as well as, (Most of all), that State's Duty to "Protect its Citizens from the Dangers of Violent (and often Deadly) Terrorism", as they repeatedly Claimed.


+ In Addition, the overall Method that had been Chosen by the Organizers this Time (for the 2018 Competition), by Exceptionaly Giving to All the Members of the "Court" to Raise and Ask Questions at Both Sides (Complaint and Defense) at Any Moment they wanted, During this Hearing's Plaidoyeries, (Something which is normaly Excluded at a Real ECHR Hearing, where Euro-Judhes can Ask Questions Only AFTER the End of the Oral Presentations initially Made by the Parties), indeed, considerablly Contributed into Making this Hearing much more "Sharp" than usual, almost Constantly requiring from Both Teams of Young Students of Law to remain at the "Cutting Edge", Ready to React Fast, Right, and Strong...


>>> A Culminating point was, at the very End of that Debate, the Replies given to a Key Question, of General Interest, about IF, and How, that WhistleBlower might, eventually, have some Other Means, Less Controversial, to Reveal to the Public those reportedly Planned Killings, in  a Timely and Efficient Way ?

 

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- From the Side of the Legal Complaint (i.e. speaking for that WhistleBlower), the Obvious Answer was "NO" : F.ex., in such a case, the Defence Minister (accused to Order the Killings) was Out of Question, his Chief of Staff had No real Independence, the Minister of Justice could Not be Trusted to act as he should, and even the Attorney General wasn't really 100% Independent nor fully reliable, (etc). So, it was Just the Press (the Journalist who curiously Died, Shortly Afterwards) that had the Practical Capacity, Independence and Will to Help reveal the Truth to the People.

 

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- But, from the Side of the Legal Defense (i.e. speaking for the respondent State), they were, obviously, Obliged to Strongly Fight Back : It was their Last Chance... Among Many and Various Other Arguments, (more or less unconvincing to "Eurofora"s view), what Singlet out was, particularly, the Reply given as far as it concerned the Possibility to Alert the Attorney General : - Indeed, he would be, in Principle, more Independent than Others, (Comp. Supra), from a fully Hierarchical Subordination, he even had a Legal Duty to act for the General Interest, and, Moreover, he (as a fully-fledged Jurist) would have Certainly taken, at least, the elementary Precaution to Distinguish and CHOOSE, among All those Numerous Data contained in the Papers that the WhistleBlower simply Photo-Copied as such, and Gave to the Press, Only those really Needed in order to Prove the Scandal of those Ordered Killings, while, on the Contrary, Ommitting to make public, i.e. Protecting Any Other Data of Private, Personal or Professional Nature, concerning several Individual Agents of the State, simply Ordered to do this or that, by their Superior (Comp. Supra), as well as any Other Delicate Secret of State, which might, eventually, be Necessary for the National Defense and/or National Security, as well as its Citizens Protection from Terrorism.

+ But, when "Eurofora", shortly Afterwards, discreetly Questioned Both Teams on what they thought about the Real Independence of an Attorney General in such kind of cases, the Reply from the Legal Complaint's side (for the WhistleBlower) Simply was that "it Depends on the National Legislation of Each Country", and that from the Legal Defense (for the respondent State) merely was, in substance : - "But, at least, he is a Magistrate !" I.e., something which, honestly, more or less Deceived us, apparently still Leaving that Question Open to Necessary Debate...

 

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=> What a Surprize, then, when, Shortlty Afterwards, we shaw our Main Interlocutor from the Side of the Winners of this 2018 Contest, i.e. the "Defending" Team, (that of "Jean Monnet" University from Saint-Etienne), a Young Student in Law mysteriously named "Yannis Berthelier" (naturally looks like Franco-Greek, but he Laughed several Times, playing with "No !", when we asked, until a Young Lady who knew him told us that it's rather True..), who Finally Received, Personally, the Greatest Honor, (Officially attributed by the President of the "René Cassin" International Foundation for Human Rights, f. ECHR President, Professor Jean-Paul Costa himself), that of the 2018 Prize "for the Best (Legal) Eloquence"...


The Event (including the Official Distribution of All Other relevant Awards to the recipients : i.e. Winners, Finalists, Team, Participation, etc, including a Weekly Training Invitation at the prestigious French "Conseil d' Etat" in Paris, etc), took place (as it's traditionally used) at the Superbe, Brand New main Room of the "Great East" Region, (Alsace+Lorraine+Champagne+Ardennes), which links, since 2015, Five core European Countries Together, through joint Borders at the historic "Heart" of Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium, timely Facilitating Links between UNO's PanEuropean Headquarters at Geneva, Strasbourg's European Institutions, Luxembourg's EU Court, and Brussels), located Nearby.

 
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+ There, all Participants were warmly Welcomed by the vice-President of that New and Big "Great East" Region, the young Elsa Schalck, Jurist herself, who Linked the European Project with Peace, mainly through Human Rights and Democracy, urged the Young Students in Law to Remember Well what they learned and/or will learn about these Values, when they shall be Called to Use them as Lawyers throughout the Courts, later on, and Concluded with a Balanced Call to Never Forget the Fact that "Human Rights canNot Exist withOut Rule of Law", as she significantly said.

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- Elsa Schalck, speaking afterwards to "Eurofora", indeed, Stressed that, as a Lawyer herself, Based in front of the Historic Franco-German Borders near Strasbourg, she Strongly Believed that the appropriate development of a Human Rights/Rule of Law joint Culture and practice, at EU's and €uroArea's Core, including through Training Young Students in Law, i.e. mostly Future Lawyers, etc., has become, Nowadays, really a "must" for all involved in Europe's foreseable Future.

By the way, the Fact that the Annual International "Rene Cassin" Human Rights Competition traditionally takes place, each Year, on a New, but purely "Imaginary" Case, Faithfully and Accurately immitating ECHR's normal Legal Proceedings, (But, naturally, often, "Inspired" by the Actural Reality in Nowadays Society), did Not Hinder, the Experienced former Long-Time Director-General on Legal and Human Rights issues, Philippe Boillat from Switzerland, while Speaking with "Eurofora" and Top Winner Yannis Berthelier (Comp. Supra), etc. to Sincerely Raise a, obviously Capital Question, which was, indeed, always kept in our mind :


- "But, Curiously, Nobody did Not Raise yet the Issue of the Fate of that Journalist (in this Year's Mock-Case) who was found Dead (Comp. Supra) !"


Both "Eurofora" and Yannis Berthelier, surprized, but inevitably Moved, raised their eyes, thougtfully...


=> After all, as they use to say, in such "René Cassin" International  Human Rights Annual Contests : - "It May Happen, Tomorrow, Really to You !"

 

 

(../..)
 


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***
 


("DraftNews", as already Send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).
 


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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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