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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
echr_rene_cassin_2018_eurofora_400 

*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.

professor_benoitrohmer_eurofora_400 


+ 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.             

chairing_journalist__roselmack_eurofora_400
(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 ?

 

 cassin__complaint___finalists_team_eurofora_400

 

- 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.

 

cassin__defenfers_winner_team__closer_eurofora_400 


- 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...

 

cassin_top_winner__yannis_berthelier_eurofora_400 

=> 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.

great_east_region_v.president_elsa_schalck_eurofora_400


- 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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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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