Threats to the rule of law in Europe

The ICJ today highlighted rising threats to the rule of law in Europe, specifically mentioning Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and Kazakhstan in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The statement read as follows:

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) adopted a Declaration on Reinforcing the Rule of Law last March at its 19th World Congress in Tunis.

The Tunis Declaration (link) stresses that not only are human rights and the Rule of Law indispensable to the betterment of the human condition, but to address such contemporary challenges as catastrophic climate change and the effects of digital technology.

Against these standards, however, the ICJ is concerned at the increasing and serious threats to the Rule of Law and those who defend it around the world, including across Europe.

In Poland, the attacks on the judiciary continue under the guise of disciplinary proceedings against judges who took recourse to EU institutions to defend the Rule of Law.

Hungarian authorities, while pausing their reforms of administrative courts, have not abandoned unjustified restrictions on the judiciary’s independence and on civil society.

Finally, in Turkey, the judiciary continues to have no guarantees in law to guarantee its independent functioning.

Across Central Asia, lawyers may face disciplinary or criminal persecution for discharging their profession independently. For example, in Kazakhstan, Sergey Sizintsev was disbarred on arbitrary grounds for criticizing a problematic reform of the legal profession.

The ICJ urges the Council to give attention to these developments of extreme concern.

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