Civic Solidarity Platform’s fact finding mission to Armenia
Responding to accounts of Armenian authorities’ interferences with the work of attorneys appearing at high-profile political trials, the international Civic Solidarity Platform decided to deploy a fact finding mission to Armenia. The mission is led by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
The Civic Solidarity Platform, a coalition of nearly 80 non-governmental organisations from all over the world, has been informed that Armenian authorities interfere with the work of independent attorneys involved high-profile cases, including the trial of anti-government group Sasna Tsrer. “According to reports, the attorneys faced difficulties in meeting their detained clients, notes from attorney-client conferences were destroyed and the lawyers underwent time-consuming security checks at the entrance to a court building. Some of the attorneys were even targeted by disciplinary proceedings”, says Katarzyna Wencel, HFHR’s lawyer who will take part in the mission. Details of the reports can be found in a statement issued by the Platform.
Reports from Armenia persuaded Civic Solidarity Platform’s members to deploy a fact finding mission. “As members of the mission, we are tasked with talking to representatives of all parties involved in the events in question. We want to meet with the attorneys allegedly targeted by reprisals but also representatives of public authorities and the Armenian Bar”, explains Joanna Smętek, the Foundation’s lawyer appointed as mission coordinator. “Our objective is to collect first-hand information about the events unfolding in Armenia. In doing that, we want to be fair and objective”, she adds.
Upon completion, the mission will be summarised in a report prepared by its members, which is to be presented to the international community.
The mission’s team comprises members of four non-governmental organisations: the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Moscow Committee Against Torture (Russia), Social Action Centre (Ukraine) and Truth Hounds (Georgia). The HFHR assumed the role of the coordinating organisation and as such will be responsible for the collection of information and drafting the report. International Partnership for Human Rights handles the mission’s logistics and financing.