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June 2, 2010

ABA President Urges Rwanda To Observe UN Principles on Role of Lawyers

ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm

ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2010—Peter Erlinder, a lawyer who is part of a defense team representing a Rwandan presidential candidate charged with “genocidal ideology,” has been arrested — apparently in connection with that representation. The _ urges the government of Rwanda to observe the U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, which state that lawyers “shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions” and that “governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.” These principles also provide that “lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly.” The ABA calls upon the government of Rwanda to abide by these principles, and refrain from harassment of lawyers practicing law consistent with their professional obligations.

Comments (15)

  • Karen Siettmann
    9:23 PM June 2, 2010

    I am incredibly happy that the ABA has come out in support of Peter Erlinder. He must be freed immediately!

  • Michael Haroz
    5:33 PM June 3, 2010

    Thank you for this and please stay on top of it and let our State Dept and the White House know of the ABA’s concern

  • Anonymous
    12:14 PM June 4, 2010

    Thank you ABA!

  • Anonymous
    10:12 PM June 4, 2010

    The ABA should first investigate what it want to take a position for.The lawyer was not arrested in connection to his representation services. In fact he was not even representing the any client in Rwanda yet. The Rwadan government says that the lawyer was arrested for denying tutsi genocide, and pormoting genocide ideology. Both are crimes under rwanda law.

  • bah humbug
    7:48 PM June 5, 2010

    This letter is weakly worded. It could have been much stronger if explicitly asked for the Rwandan government to release Peter Erlinder.

  • Jeff Senter
    1:15 PM June 7, 2010

    I am glad the ABA is on board expressing dismay over the arrest and detention of attorney Professor Peter Erlinder. Professor Erlinder was today denied bail in Rwanda. His alleged crimes are related to his work outside of Rwanda as assigned defense attorney before the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The US State Department has also called for Professor Erlinder’s release.

  • Anonymous
    4:51 PM June 7, 2010

    Peter Erlinder has written and spoken of the overwhelming evidence produced before the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal that it was the RPF (present regime in Rwanda) that started the war in Rwanda ans is responsible for most of the deaths, as they are in the Congo and Rwanda since 1994. This is not even debatable any longer for those who are aware of the trial record. The lawy under which he is charged is designed to suppress the truth about the war in Rwanda in order for a brutal regime to maintain its totalitarian control of that tragic country. The US government’s tepid response to his arrest no doubt springs from their support of this regime and their desire to maintain the three military bases the US has in that country to control the resources of central Africa. Professor Erlinder is in jail simply for informing the world of the facts. This is thought crime. This is the complete suppression of free speech and historical research. It is fascism, plain and simple.

    Christopher Black]
    Lead Counsel
    International War Crimes Tribunal For Rwanda
    Toronto, Canada

  • Philip Smeltzer
    10:06 PM June 8, 2010

    Professor Erlinder was not in any violation of Rwandan law, he did not “promote genocidal ideology” and should therefore be absolved of any and all charges brought against him. The ABA and the U.N. are within their rights and legally correct in requestion Professor Erlinder’s release and I thereby stand with these two organizations in openly requesting Peter Erlinder’s release from Rwandan captivity and that he be absolved and aquitted of all charges

  • Kaitlin Janusz
    5:28 PM June 16, 2010

    I am pleased that the ABA has taken this stand. I encourage ABA leaders to use whatever forums possible to help push for Peter Erlinder’s release.


    Kaitlin Janusz

  • Anonymous
    10:06 AM June 17, 2010

    it’s time to FPR to take his responsabilities in the Rwanda war in 1994 and for Bush government support to that brutal political party. Rwanda government is showing to all the international community that they can do as they like:kiling civilians in Drc,suppression of freee speach,suppresion of democtatic issues in Rwanda because they have USA military bases in their country.Please USA don’t be a prostitute and defend your values,democraty. This is your responsability we are all tired with that brutal regime in Kigali. Both countries: Congo,Uganda,Burundi even Rwanda civilians and opposition.ABA thanks for the job you are doing
    we can understand the USA security politic and bring our support to realise this because we all aspire on that but we can not acceppt that this have to be assimilate to a brutal Rwandan regime,who is not care about Human Rights…We all need the truth about the Rwandan war in 1994 and in Congo. Thanks.

  • ABANow.org Editor
    2:07 PM June 18, 2010

    Peter Erlinder, an American lawyer accused of denying the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has been granted an unconditional release by a Rwandan court in Kigali today.

  • Anonymous
    2:01 PM June 23, 2010

    I think that ABA should NOT be making such statements. This particular gentleman is accused of denying the genocide ever took place. That is illegal in Rwanda and they already issued a warrant for his arrest before he stepped unto Rwandan soil. Shame on you, ABA, for becoming politically involved in the affairs of another country, especially when it comes to such matters as denying the death of close to 1,000,000 people.

  • Give me a break
    12:09 AM August 3, 2010

    Oh, wow! The ABA “urges” Rawanda! Surely Rawanda will listen to the ABA. The ABA is so full of itself. The problem with organizations like the ABA is that the people who do the “urging” are those who have no idea what it’s like to get hands dirty and to be on the ground working in the trenches for the social needs of the world. Of course there are those in these organizations who claim that they know what’s like to get dirt under their finger nails because they volunteer a couple hours a week, month, or whatever it may be while they sit in their well appointed offices drawing six figure salaries. These organizations are filled with people who are elected or appointed to a position for a short period of time and who attempt to claim credit for doing good in this world when the real credit belongs to the nameless soldiers who fight day to day for social justice and who do good deeds not because it is a way to get their name out to develop business for their law practice, but because the world needs people whose hearts are filled with a desire to do good for the sake of doing good.

  • Give me a break
    12:14 AM August 3, 2010

    Yes, I know, I misspelled Rwanda. Go a head and lambast me and discredit my point of view for my spelling error.

  • sam
    5:03 AM September 20, 2011

    Christopher Black]
    Lead Counsel
    International War Crimes Tribunal For Rwanda
    Toronto, Canada…….i wonder what sort of “lead counsel” you are…..for one you are one heartless log of a man, what did u want the RPF to do, wait for the UN that deserted the pple to perish to come…..or wait for you to “argue” before ICJ for compensation of victims!!!the problem with people like u who sit in “clear view” offices with swinging chairs u think the world works just like that!!! mature up, be realistic….RPF saved millions…..when you were probably eating a burger!!!!