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Αρχική 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

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Παρασκευή, 06 Απρίλιος 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 :

president_costa__eurofora_400


- "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 !)..

 
cassin_2018__first_time_echr_had_a_black_president..._eurofora_400 



- 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).

 


f._coe_director_hr_boillat__eurofora_400


- 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.

 
region_ceremony_eurofora_400 


+ 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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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

imag0335_400


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
--------------------
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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