Arrest of lawyers "human rights violation"

The Bar Association of Serbia has reacted to the arrest of lawyers Dejan Vasić and Faruk Korenica from Kosovska Mitrovica and the raiding of their premises.

Source: Tanjug

The association warned that with this, "Priština authorities grossly violated human rights and the principles of the rule of law."

The Bar Association of Kosovo, of which the lawyers are members, was not informed about the arrest and raid of their legal firms, during which their computers and documents were seized.

Such a treatment by Kosovo authorities speak about the disrespect for fundamental human rights, primarily taking into account the arrestees whom Vasić and Korenica are defending, a statement said.

The Bar Association of Serbia also points to the Law on the Bar, the Lawyers' Code of Ethics and international norms that "stipulate certain conduct of the bodies that ordered the arrest of lawyers and raid of their offices, as well as the bar association that they are members of".

"Those rules exist for the very purpose of protecting the rights of the arrested lawyers' clients and their right to just and fair trials - which often take place at short notice - or the rights of minors who are under special protection," the statement also said.

The Bar Association of Serbia also said that it expects its Kosovo equivalent to take adequate measures in line with the fundamental principles of the profession, and react as strongly as possible to protect the profession, fundamental human rights and the rule of law.

The Association advised the Kosovo lawyers to turn to specialized international organizations for protection.

The lawyers were arrested on Tuesday in an EULEX police operation.

Their clients include four Serbs who have been arrested in northern Kosovo over the past several months.

In a statement to Tanjug, EULEX spokesperson Irina Gudeljevic said that the lawyers are suspected of having obstructed evidence or official proceedings.

"They are currently in police detention and have been charged with obstructing evidence or official proceedings, contrary to Article 394 of the Kosovo penal code," Gudeljevic said.


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