The Presidium of the Minsk City Bar Association made a decision not to carry out a special meeting.
The statement was posted on the official website of the Association.
The head of the Bar Association, Alyaksandr Pylchanka, told BelaPAN news agency on February 18 about plans to hold a special meeting. He said the Association had discussed the decision of the Ministry of Justice on disbarring four lawyers, Aleh Aheeu, Tatsyana Aheeva, Uladzimir Toustsik, and Tamara Haraeva, who defended people involved in the criminal case of mass riot on December 19. According to Pylchanka, no disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the above mentioned lawyers, because the Ministry of Justice did not ask to provide any documents regarding their professional activity.
Commenting on the initiative of the Ministry of Justice on introducing new rules of legal ethics, Pylchnaka said that such rules should be adopted “only by lawyers’ community”. “The executive personnel of the Minsk City Bar Association finds the current situation critical and dangerous for both the independence of the bar as a legal institution and independence of individual lawyers,” the chairman of the bar association said. According to him, in this connection a decision was passed to hold an extraordinary meeting of Minsk City Bar Association.
On the same day, February 18, Minister of Justice Viktar Halavanau signed an order on expulsion of Alyaksandr Pylchanka from the Belarusian Qualification Commission on Advocacy.
As the Assocaition’s website informs, the upcoming special meeting was to explain lawyers “the new rules of licensing, ground for and procedures of obtaining a license, as well as grounds for and procedures of revoking a license on legal practice in view of decree #450 “On Licensing Certain Types of Business Activities” adopted by President of Belarus on September 1, 2010.
However, the Presidium of the Bar Association decided not to carry out a special meeting “due to absence of the common position of the lawyers on the issue”. These issues may be discussed on a regular meeting of the Association scheduled for March 19, the website informs.
The press release underlines that there were no plans to politicize the issues offered for discussion at the special meeting. “The aim of the meeting was building a constructive dialogue with the judicial bodies and finding a common approach to the use of the law on legal activities,” the message says.
It’s also noticed that “certain electronic mass media systematically misinterpret the events regarding the association itself and performing professional duties by lawyers”, which lead to “distortion of the covered events, which is absolutely inacceptable”. On this issue, the Minsk City Bar Association “fully agrees” with the Ministry of Justice. The Association says: the Minsk City Bar Association, its Presidium and Chairman “do not have any relation to the literal content of the data published by these resources”.