Statement of Carolyn B. Lamm, President, _ Re: Arrest in Rwanda of Law Prof. Peter Erlinder
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.
With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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