Communication to the Government
151. On 19 November 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning the case of Vasiliy Rakovich. Allegedly, Mr. Rakovich was attacked on 23 October 1998, during a lunch break in the trial of Vasiliy Chaikin. Mr. Rakovich was Mr. Chaikin’s defence counsel at the time; the case was being heard in the City Court of Stanitsa Leningradskaya, in the Krasnodar region. Supposedly, the attack was motivated by Mr. Rakovich’s call for an investigation into Sergey Tsaturyan’s interrogation of witnesses in the Chaikin case. Mr. Tsaturyan is the chief investigator in Vasiliy Chaikin’s case.
152. The Special Rapporteur awaits a response from the Government.
153. In his report to the General Assembly (A/53/402, paras. 40-49), the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Rwanda reported that there had been some improvement in the administration of justice in Rwanda in the past year. For example, the Office of the Prosecutor-General had initiated “group trials” in an attempt to alleviate the burden on the justice system, and there had been an improvement in access by civil parties to legal representation in Rwanda. Further, the Special Representative commended the rulings handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and hoped that those verdicts would serve as the first step on the path to eradicating impunity.
154. There remained, however, concerns about the lack of adequate financial and human resources to support the effective functioning of an independent and impartial justice system in Rwanda.
155. The Special Rapporteur shares the concerns of the Special Representative over the lack of resources for the judiciary.
Communication to the Government
156. On 11 August 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal jointly with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on torture concerning Mr. Weerasinghe Arrachige Janaka Chaminda. According to information received, he was arrested on 6 August 1998 at 3.15 p.m. and allegedly brought to the Ja-ela police station, where he was detained. He was reportedly beaten by a police inspector on several occasions during the day and the night of his arrest. Mr. Milroy, who reportedly went to visit him, was said also to have been detained at the same police station, where he was allegedly beaten by a police constable. It was alleged that they had not been brought before a judicial authority since their arrest, had not been charged and had been denied access to a legal adviser. Both are said to have been denied access to their families. Furthermore, fears were expressed that the above-named persons might continue to be at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
157. On 11 November 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning allegations reported in the Sunday Observer, a prominent Sri Lankan newspaper. An article printed on 7 June 1998 alleged inappropriate conduct by an unnamed High Court judge. Specifically, the judge was accused of privately meeting with a defendant, whose case was pending in the judge’s court, and another High Court judge. Although no names were provided, the resolution of this matter, either through the identification and sanctioning of the persons involved or through their exoneration, was of particular importance.
Communication from the Government
158. On 17 November 1998, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur informing him that the contents of his letter of 11 November 1998 had been transmitted to the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka and that a further communication would follow upon receipt of information from the authorities in Sri Lanka.
159. The Special Rapporteur awaits a response to his communication of 11 August 1998.
Communication to the Government
160. On 16 January 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the arrest and detention of lawyers Zaki Mansour and El Eden Mohamed Ahmed, both arrested on 21 December 1997, and Yahya El Hussain, Margani El Hibir and Mahjoub Abdalla Mohamed, arrested on 1 January 1998. It was reported that Margani El Hibir was released on 7 January 1998. According to the information received, they had been arrested in relation to a peaceful demonstration organized in Khartoum by Sudanese lawyers on 20 December 1997, in which between 1,000 and 2,000 lawyers marched to the High Court and the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum protesting the violation of human rights and the arrest and harassment of lawyers. The report expresses grave fears for their physical and psychological integrity. It was also reported that a memorandum had been distributed to the Minister of Justice requesting independence of the judiciary; the closure of all public order courts; the withdrawal of the 1993 amendments to the Advocacy Act of 1983 that denies Sudanese lawyers the right to confidentiality and places the Bar Association under the control of the Registrar of Trade Unions and the Minister of Labour; the discontinuing of arbitrary arrests and detentions and the release of all persons detained without charge; respect for the rule of law, the annulment of all constitutional decrees and laws that contradict international human rights law that has been agreed to by the Government of the Sudan; and the resumption of democracy and civil rights in the Sudan. It was also alleged that among the persons and lawyers forced to report daily to security headquarters were Ms. Ilhlam Nassir, a civil servant with the Omdurman local Council; Professor Mohammed Osman Maki, a lecturer in philosophy; and Mr. Hamid El Nur, a businessman. Moreover, lawyers El Sheik Mohamed, Ali Adam, Ms. Fatima Abu El Gasim and Abd El Hameed Khalaf Alla had been forced to stay at Security Headquarters from 6 a.m. until midnight.
161. On 23 January 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan concerning the arrest and detention of Mr. Gazi Suleiman, a human rights defender and lawyer. According to the information received, Mr. Suleiman was arrested in Khartoum on 20 January 1998 at 2 p.m. and brought to trial the same day at 4 p.m. It was also reported that after an adjournment of four hours, at approximately 9 p.m., a summary trial was held in which Mr. Suleiman was convicted under section 66 (spreading false news) and section 94 (failure to obey an order or summons by a government official) of the 1991 Penal Code. The basis for the charges was reportedly Mr. Suleiman’s refusal to obey a summons by the Security on Saturday 17 January 1998 and public statements he had made concerning the Sudanese Bar Association and, more generally, the rule of law in Sudan. According to the source, Mr. Suleiman had reasonable grounds under the law to refuse the summons because the security officers did not present their identification papers. The source further reported that Mr. Suleiman denied the allegations of spreading false news. It was reported that Mr. Suleiman had been sentenced to five months’ imprisonment and fined 500,000 Sudanese pounds and was reportedly being held at Security Headquarters before being transferred to Kober Prison.
162. On 12 May 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning the arrest of advocate Ali Alsayed, a leading member of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), and other opposition lawyers, including Khalid Abu Elrous. According to the source, Mr. Ali Alsayed was arrested on 7 May 1998 by armed security men. He was then taken to his office, which was searched. He was detained in an unknown location and fears had been expressed for his physical and psychological integrity. The source also alleged that advocate Khalid Abu Elrous was recently arrested, along with 83 other lawyers, members of ARD. The source reported that the arrests occurred during the referendum on the new Constitution.
163. On 23 August 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning Mr. Mostafa Abdel Gadir, who was reportedly detained in Khartoum in early July. The source alleged that advocate Gadir had been detained as a result of his legal representation of a number of members of the political opposition arrested in late June 1998, who had announced, pursuant to provisions of the newly enacted Constitution, that they would restart party activities immediately.
Communication from the Government
164. On 8 May 1998, the Government sent a note verbale to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which provided, inter alia, a response to the Special Rapporteur's letter of 16 January 1998. The Government informed him that lawyers Zaki Mansour, Alla Eldin Mohamed Ahmed, Yahia Elhussein, Ihlam Nasir, Mohamed Osman Mekki, Hamid Elnur, El Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed, Ali Adam, Fatima Abuelgasim and Abdel Hameed Khalafalla had been subjected to preliminary investigation, which was conducted in a very short time and in accordance with the law. No one was detained.
165. On 11 July 1998, the Rapporteur of the Advisory Council for Human Rights of the Republic of the Sudan sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur acknowledging receipt of his letter concerning the detention of some Sudanese lawyers. After investigating the matter, the Government informed the Special Rapporteur that the allegations were not true. In particular, advocate Ali Alsayed and advocate Khalid Abu Elrous were continuing their normal life and practising their profession. However, some security officers had communicated with them on the dates mentioned in the Special Rapporteur's letter about certain incidents which had taken place at the buildings of the Bar Association in the Sudan, but they had not been detained.
166. On 26 October 1998, the Government sent a letter to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in response to the Special Rapporteur's letter dated 23 August 1998 concerning the alleged detention of advocate Mustafa Abdel Gadir. The Government informed the Special Rapporteur that advocate Abdel Gadir had never been detained as alleged and that he was free, conducting his profession and other activities.
167. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its responses. However, he expresses some concern that lawyers appear to be under some form of harassment from security forces.
168. On 10 October 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning Ms. Pamela Ramjattan, sentenced to death for the murder of her common-law husband, Mr. Alexander Jordan. Ms. Ramjattan now faces imminent execution. Based upon the information received, it appeared that a failure of justice may have occurred insofar as the court did not take into consideration salient, mitigating factors in defence of the accused. The Special Rapporteur requested the Government to stay the proceedings to allow him to study the facts of the case in greater detail and to prepare a detailed intervention that might be submitted to the Advisory Committee on the Power of Pardon.
169. The Special Rapporteur has not yet received a response from the Government. He is also awaiting further materials from the source.
Communication to the Government
170. On 12 March 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning lawyer Radhia Nassraoui. According to the information received, her office was broken into and ransacked on 11 February 1998 around 3 a.m. and the majority of her materials were stolen. The main door of her office was forced open and badly damaged and the contents of her office, including her files, law books, telephone, fax and computer were stolen. Additionally, it was reported that Ms. Nassraoui has allegedly been the object of such attacks because of her activities in the area of the defence of human rights. It was also reported that Ms. Nassraoui has been frequently placed under surveillance by security agents and that on the day of the incident witnesses reported having seen security agents near her office.
Communication from the Government
171. On 3 June 1998, the Government sent the Special Rapporteur a response to his letter dated 12 March 1998. The Government informed the Special Rapporteur that on 12 February 1998 Ms. Nassraoui had presented through her lawyer a request to the Procurator of the Republic of the Court of First Instance of Tunisia, in which she also alleged that her office had been the object of damaging theft. On the basis of this complaint, the Procurator of the Republic had decided to open an investigation of damaging theft to the property of another. He had charged the senior judge with the investigation, who had ordered the judicial police to handle the matter. The police agents came to the site and proceeded to interview and to gather testimony in the presence of Ms. Nassraoui, who was invited by the investigators to present herself at the office of the judicial police for the purpose of making a statement. However, the interested party had not followed up on this invitation. The Government also informed the Special Rapporteur that the investigation was following its normal course with the purpose of discovering the truth and establishing the facts.
172. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government and awaits further information on the outcome of the investigation.
Communication to the Government
173. On 12 March 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning the detention of Mr. Kemal Yilmaz, a lawyer of the Bar Association of Istanbul and member of the Contemporary Lawyers Association and of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD). According to the source, Mr. Yilmaz had been arrested on 21 February 1998 in Yozgat, while he was leaving the city after having visited his client in the local prison. He had been interrogated by the police, although, according to Turkish law, lawyers can only be interrogated by a prosecutor. According to the source, he was detained in Yozgat E-type prison. Mr. Yilmaz was allegedly suspected of being a liaison officer of an illegal organization. The source expressed fears that he may be subjected to psychological and/or physical torture.
174. On 26 August 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a communication jointly with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences to the Government concerning lawyer Mrs. Sevil DalkiliÁ, who was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment in 1995, allegedly on the basis of statements which she made under torture. According to the source, Mrs. DalkiliÁ was detained in March 1994 and held in the Ankara police headquarters for 15 days. During this time, she was allegedly subjected to death threats and threats of rape, sexually abused, beaten, subjected to electric shocks, hosed with pressurized water and deprived of food, sleep and access to toilet facilities. She allegedly suffered a bilaterally dislocated jaw as a result of the beating. The source further reported that the statement she had made in police custody was brought as evidence in her trial at Ankara State Security Court on charges of membership of the illegal Kurdish Workers' Party, handling explosives and separatism. The statement was not supported by any forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony. Reportedly, the only other evidence brought before the court was police statements and statements, apparently also made under duress, by other defendants in the trial. In court, Mrs. DalkiliÁ retracted her statement, alleging that it had been extracted under torture. The source claims that the court conducted no investigations into her complaint.
Communication from the Government
175. On 6 May 1998, the Government sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur enclosing an information note pertaining to the case of Mr. Kemal Yilmaz. The Government informed the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Kemal Yilmaz, a lawyer, was taken under custody on 21 February 1998 in Yozgat and after his first interrogation by the Chief Prosecutor in Yozgat, he was arrested by the Criminal Court of First Instance, and kept at the Yozgat prison, on the grounds of serving the illegal, terrorist organization TKP/MI-TIKKO as a courier and providing shelter and assistance to its members.
176. During the visit paid to his clients (Mr. Hasan Durna, Mr. Erdal Cetinkaya, Mr. Ismet Cetkinaya and Mr. Ali Gocmen, all of them convicted of membership of the illegal terrorist organization TKP/MI-TIKKO) at the Yozgat prison, messages for the members of the said organization, disguised in layers of paper tissues, as well as a written document reflecting the views and strategies of the said illegal organization were discovered on Mr. Kemal Yilmaz.
177. Mr. Yilmaz's case was later deferred to the State Security Court of Ankara on 23 February 1998. He was transferred to the Ankara Ulucanlar prison on 31 March 1998. His case was pending in the Ankara State Security Court.
178. It had been established through medical reports that he had not been subjected to torture or ill-treatment, either during the period of detention or at the time of his arrest.
179. On 27 October 1998, the Government sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences in response to their letter dated 12 October 1998 concerning the case of Mrs. Sevil DalkiliÁ. The Government provided the following information to the Special Rapporteurs.
180. First, Mrs. Sevil DalkiliÁ, a lawyer and the Director of the Kaman local house, as well as a member of the Human Rights Association, had been taken under custody in the aftermath of an operation carried out in collaboration by the Kirsehir and Ankara Security Forces on 3 March 1994 on the grounds of her participation in the illegal action group consisting of Mr.Ibrahim Halil Ata and Mr. Ismet Ayaz, the central regional province and political representative, respectively, of the terrorist organization PKK. She was kept under custody for 14 days, according to the relevant articles of the Turkish Code of Criminal Procedures then in force, and was arrested on 17 March 1994.
181. Secondly, as a result of the interrogation of Mrs. DalkiliÁ, she was found guilty of the following offences: an attempt to set fire to a forest zone in Ankara-Oran, on 15 August 1993; bombing of the Kirsehir Palace of Justice on 23 September 1993; using explosives at the Emlak Bank building in Kirsehir on 1 October 1993; using explosives at the Kirsehir Governorate building on 14 October 1993; bombing of a building belonging to a political party in Ankara on 22 December 1993; bombing of the government lodges belonging to the Ministry of Justice in Kirsehir on 1 January 1994.
182. Thirdly, Mrs. DalkiliÁ's case was considered by the State Security Court of Ankara and she was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and payment of a fine of 1,920,000 Turkish liras, on 7 February 1995, on the grounds of her membership of an armed gang and using explosives. The verdict was appealed against to the Supreme Court of Appeals and the decision of the Ankara State Security Court was upheld on 13 October 1995.
183. Fourthly, Mrs. DalkiliÁ and her lawyer had submitted, on 8 July 1994 and 14 November 1994, respectively, allegations of torture during her stay in custody. However, the forensic report issued at the end of the period she spent in custody, on 16 March 1994, confirmed that she had not been subjected to torture or ill-treatment. Moreover, Mrs. DalkiliÁ, at the hearing of the State Security Court on 17 March 1994, accepted her testimony, received during her interrogation by the Security Department, and did not claim for any acts of torture or ill-treatment directed against her physical integrity.
184. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its responses, but he has not been able to verify the information transmitted by the Government.
185. In his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth session on his mission to the United Kingdom (E/CN.4/1998/39/Add.4), the Special Rapporteur raised several matters of concern and made recommendations. The Government of the United Kingdom did respond. The Special Rapporteur wishes to deal with just two issues, namely, intimidation and harassment of defence lawyers and the murder of Patrick Finucane.
Intimidation and harassment of defence lawyers
186. In paragraph 38 of his report, the Special Rapporteur asserted that he was satisfied that there had been harassment and intimidation of defence lawyers by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers. The Government responded by stating, inter alia: “This obviously is a matter of considerable concern. We would ask, however, to be provided with specific details on which the allegations are made. If there is new evidence, we will want to ensure that that is looked into”. The Chief Constable of the RUC was reported to have said, “All of his complaints relate to hearsay. I'm not saying that they should not be taken seriously, but he has come to conclusions without any firm evidence”. (The Sunday Business Post, 10 October 1998).
187. Special Rapporteurs on mission have no powers to compel witnesses to appear before them and record evidence on oath to substantiate any allegation, if that is what the Chief Constable meant when he called for substantiation of allegations. During his mission the Special Rapporteur listened to various personalities and studied the materials supplied to him. The fact remained that the RUC was fully aware of these complaints through NGO reports, both domestic and international. It failed to take note. In the view of the Special Rapporteur, the RUC showed complete indifference to the allegations contained in the reports from NGOs. The lawyers concerned were only about 30 of the 1,700 solicitors in Northern Ireland and could easily be identified. The Chief Constable could easily have called them for a meeting and inquired why they were complaining to the NGOs and not the RUC. Through such a dialogue, confidence in the RUC investigation mechanism could have been restored. This the Chief Constable failed to do and allowed the situation to deteriorate.
188. Recently a solicitor made a number of formal complaints, the investigations of which were supervised by the Independent Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC). The Special Rapporteur received information that ICPC expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which these complaints were investigated. As a result, the Metropolitan Police of London were appointed to investigate them. The investigation is yet to be completed. This once again illustrates the lack of confidence in the RUC investigation mechanism and demonstrates further why the lawyers concerned refused to complain to the RUC.
189. The Special Rapporteur trusts that when the audio/video recording of interrogation is fully operational and the police Ombudsman scheme comes into existence on 1 March 1999, cases of harassment and intimidation of defence lawyers will be minimized. However, these mechanisms can only be effective if those who are entrusted with their implementation are committed and adequately trained to respect the rights of suspects under investigation and the role of lawyers representing them. The Special Rapporteur hopes that the Chris Patten Commission will address this issue.
The murder of Patrick Finucane
190. With regard to the murder of a prominent lawyer, Patrick Finucane, the Special Rapporteur in his report expressed his conviction that there were compelling reasons for an independent judicial inquiry. He in fact called on the Government to invoke the provisions of the Commission of Enquiry Act as was done in the case of the Bloody Sunday incident.
191. The Government's response was that there was no new evidence to justify such an inquiry. The Special Rapporteur is of the view that the Government may have misunderstood the reason for his call for such an inquiry. His concern over this murder was over doubts as to whether there was State collusion, i.e. military and/or RUC collusion, in this murder. From the materials seen by the Special Rapporteur, there is at least prima facie evidence of such collusion. His conclusion to this effect is fortified by the refusal up to now by the Government to make public the report of John Stevens' second inquiry. Even a summary of the report was not made public as was done in the earlier inquiry. The Special Rapporteur was not calling for the prosecution of anyone for the murder, in which event new evidence may be necessary.
192. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur was surprised to learn from a news report of a statement attributed to the Chief Constable of the RUC. He was reported to have said, “There never was a suggestion of RUC collusion. What John Stevens (the British Chief Constable who succeeded John Stalker to investigate RUC collusion) found was that part-time military regiment (RIR) people had been involved. There was no hint of collusion by the RUC with paramilitaries” (The Sunday Business Post, 4 October 1998).
193. The Special Rapporteur finds such a statement coming from the Chief Constable surprising. At the end of the mission in Belfast, the Special Rapporteur sought another meeting with the Chief Constable, Mr. Ronnie Flanagan. At this meeting the Special Rapporteur requested answers on this issue. The Chief Constable said that as he was not the Chief Constable at the time of the investigation he could not provide the answers and directed the Special Rapporteur to Mr. John Stevens. The Chief Constable even volunteered to call Mr. John Stevens to give him the green light to answer the Special Rapporteur’s questions. When the Special Rapporteur wrote to John Stevens posing some questions (see E/CN.4/1998/39/Add.4, para. 70), he (Stevens) declined on the grounds, inter alia, that “The reports are highly classified and the authority of the above persons will be required before information is released” (E/CN.4/1998/39/Add.4, para. 71).
194. What is puzzling here is that the Chief Constable, at the meeting with the Special Rapporteur, volunteered to instruct John Stevens to answer the Special Rapporteur’s questions. But John Stevens declined to answer unless he obtained permission from the Secretary of State and/or the Chief Constable. But the Chief Constable is reported to have divulged at least part of the John Stevens report to the Sunday Business Report. If a salient part of that report, considered highly classified, could be divulged to the press by the Chief Constable then why could not the entire report be made public?
195. Since the report of the Special Rapporteur was issued, his attention has been drawn to an illuminating article written by a journalist, Mr. John Ware, in the New Statesman of 24 April 1998. In the article, Mr. Ware gives details of British army collusion in murders such as that of Patrick Finucane. The article also deals with the Patrick Finucane murder. The Special Rapporteur met Mr. John Ware in London and discussed with him the contents of the article. The Special Rapporteur considers that the revelation in the article further substantiates his conclusion that there was possible security force collusion in the murder of Patrick Finucane. If new evidence is needed, there appears to be ample in the article referred to. The Chief Constable’s reported disclosure to The Sunday Business Post “that part-time military regiment (RIR) people had been involved” adds further substance to the Special Rapporteur’s conclusion.
196. The Special Rapporteur therefore reiterates his earlier call for a royal commission of inquiry into this murder. Only such an inquiry could finally lay to rest the lingering doubts about this brutal murder, which had a chilling effect on the independence of the legal profession in Northern Ireland.
Communication to the Government
197. On 12 August 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a communication to the Government concerning the alleged assault of Miceal Caraher, Martin Mines and Bernard McGinn by the police following a court appearance in the Craigavon Magistrates Court in Northern Ireland. Of particular concern was the fact that the alleged assault occurred in the precincts of the court building. Further, according to the source, the allegations were raised by the solicitors of the above-named individuals with the resident magistrate, Mr. Ken Nixon. The source reported that the resident magistrate indicated to the solicitors that he had not seen anything and therefore he would not take the matter any further. The source also reported that the above-named individuals claim that their visits to court are the occasion of regular minor assaults and verbal abuse. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur had been informed by the Special Rapporteur on torture, Mr. Nigel Rodley, that he had transmitted on 28 April 1997 prior allegations concerning Mr. McGinn and Miceal Caraher. The Special Rapporteur on torture had also provided a copy of the Government’s response dated 30 June 1997, in which it indicated that the allegations were the subject of an internal investigation of complaints against officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary supervised by the Independent Commission of Police Complaints.
198. The Special Rapporteur awaits a response on the investigation into these allegations.
Communication to the Government
199. On 6 August 1998, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent appeal jointly with the Special Rapporteur on torture concerning the arrest of Mr. Destan Rukiqi, a human rights lawyer who has defended ethnic Albanian political prisoners in Kosovo in recent years and reportedly has provided information on war crimes committed by Serbian special police forces in Kosovo to the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague. According to the source, Mr. Rukiqi was arrested on 23 July 1998 in the presence of staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and sentenced that same day in an expedited procedure to the maximum 60 days in prison for disturbing public order under article 6, paragraph 3 of the Serbian Law on Public Order. The source further alleged that Mr. Rukiqi was severely beaten by the police following his arrest and was hospitalized on 30 July in serious condition because of injuries to his kidneys caused by the beatings. The charges against Mr. Rukiqi were based on an investigative judge’s claim that Mr. Rukiqi had insulted her by saying she had behaved like a policeman. The court decision indicated that he had made the remark in the office of the investigative judge, when she would not allow him to take notes on, but only to read, court documents relating to the defence of one of his clients. In this regard, the Special Rapporteurs had been informed that the Law on Criminal Procedure guarantees unconditional review of court files relating to a client. The source also reported that another human rights activist, Ms. Zahrida Podrimcaku, was arrested in Pristina on 9 June 1998. Ms. Podrimcaku had been investigating an incident that occurred on 31 May 1998 in the village of Poklek, in which police detained 10 ethnic Albanian men during an attack on the village. According to the source, the body of one of the men, Ardian Deliu, was found the next day, while the other nine men remain missing and are presumed dead.
200. The Special Rapporteur is awaiting a response from the Government.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
201. The Special Rapporteur has also taken note of the report to the General Assembly of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (A/53/322), in which he stated that the need for independent investigations into mass crimes against civilians in Kosovo was urgent. Following three comprehensive field missions in 1998, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, cited the continuing disregard of both domestic and international standards pertaining to police conduct and the treatment of detainees (A/53/322/Add.1, para. 36).
202. Trials on criminal charges relating to terrorism and anti-State activity began in the district of Prizren, resulting so far in the conviction and sentencing of all those charged. Trials were scheduled for every other weekday until the end of October and November 1998. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights monitored these proceedings throughout Kosovo (A/53/322/Add.1, para. 37).
203. The Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement of 13 October 1998 (points 11 and 12) provides amnesty for persons who took part in armed activity in Kosovo. Prior to the implementation of these regulations, the portions relating to criminal prosecution must be reviewed, approved and codified in regulations by the federal Parliament and then published in the official gazette of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At the time of writing of the present report, it is unclear when regulations for amnesty for persons who took part in armed activity in Kosovo will be adopted. It was also reported by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation that the Serbian Ministry of Justice can issue interim instructions to suspend relevant criminal proceedings of persons charged with terrorism, until the federal Parliament has taken action (A/53/322/Add.1, para. 37).
204. From the number of interventions made, it will be seen that many Governments do not respond in a timely manner. The Special Rapporteur generally seeks a response from a Government within a month.
205. Several Governments to which the Special Rapporteur has made requests for in situ missions have not responded positively. In this connection, the Special Rapporteur would state that he seeks in situ missions not only to countries where judges and lawyers face problems of threats to judicial independence, but also countries where efforts are being made to improve and enhance judicial independence, so that those positive developments can be reported to the Commission. Such reports could encourage other States to emulate their efforts.
206. On the question of standards, the Special Rapporteur, while welcoming intergovernmental organizations addressing the issue of judicial and lawyers’ independence, is concerned over the possible proliferation of standards. Unless standards are uniform and consistent there can be confusion. The Special Rapporteur will continue to work closely with intergovernmental organizations on this matter. If the United Nations Basic Principles are found to be too general and basic in substance then there may be a justification for reviewing them.
207. There has been an increase in the interest shown by organizations of judges and lawyers in the work of the Special Rapporteur and the status of independence globally. It is reflected in the number of invitations the Special Rapporteur has received to participate in meetings in the different regions.
208. With the increase in requests by countries, particularly countries in transition, for technical assistance and training programmes for the implementation of human rights standards, support for the rule of law and the strengthening of the administration of justice, the Special Rapporteur will work closely with the Activities and Programmes Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to assist with these activities.
209. The Special Rapporteur’s mandate often requires analysis of laws and legislation. When such laws and legislation are in a language other than English, the Special Rapporteur encounters considerable difficulties in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in having such laws and legislation translated into the English language professionally. These difficulties not only impede and delay the work of the Special Rapporteur but affect the quality of his work.
210. Arising from some of the observations made earlier under country situations, his activities and the conclusions, the Special Rapporteur wishes to make some specific recommendations:
(i) In the case of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Special Rapporteur reiterates his earlier recommendation in paragraph 95 of his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth session (E/CN.4/1998/39/Add.4) that the Government should establish an independent judicial inquiry to investigate the murder of Patrick Finucane. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur urges the Government to make public the second report of John Stevens.
(ii) In paragraph 4 of resolution 1994/41 creating this mandate, the Commission urged all Governments to assist the Special Rapporteur in the discharge of his mandate and to transmit to him all the information requested. In the spirit of this paragraph, the Special Rapporteur once again appeals to Governments to respond to his interventions promptly and attend positively to his requests to undertake in situ missions.
(iii) The Special Rapporteur calls on Governments, the national judiciaries, Bar associations and NGOs to submit to him any court judgments and any legislation affecting the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession for his consideration, irrespective of whether such judgments and legislation have the effect of enhancing or restricting judicial and lawyer independence.
(iv) The Special Rapporteur requests that he be provided with professional translation assistance in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to enable him to discharge his mandate effectively.