The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC), aware of the grave incident that took place in the city of Elbasan with the killing of lawyer Ravik Gurra, expresses its profound condolences to the family and relatives of the victim.
AHC also joins the human indignation of lawyers and associations of lawyers in the country toward this grave criminal act that took the life of their colleague.
Life is precious and sacred for every person and therefore it should be protected by all means. It is the positive obligation of the state to protect the life of every citizen, while it is the duty of specialized bodies, in accordance with the law, to discover and deal a blow toward every person committing a criminal offense.
AHC became aware of the announcement of the Steering Committee of the Chamber of Albanian Lawyers of 25.03.2019, which is addressed to all lawyers and that, in sign of protest, encourages them to abandon representation before any court and investigation body in the Republic of Albania for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, March 27, 28, and 29, 2019 (except for hearings for security measures). AHC finds it striking in the announcement that it notes that the above decision is applicable for all lawyer members of the National Chamber of Lawyers and that breach of this decision by individual lawyers would be cause for disciplinary proceedings.
AHC deems that peaceful forms of protest are legitimate. However, in this concrete case, lawyers registered with the Chamber may be following cases whereby failure to appear in the process might harm, to some extent, the interests and rights of citizens and harm the normal functioning of justice bodies.
The warning for lawyers that if they do not abide by this decision they could face disciplinary proceedings, in our opinion, is not founded on the law. Participation or not in rallies or protests is of a voluntary nature and not mandatory or with warnings of disciplinary proceedings.
In closing, AHC calls on the prosecution office to carry out a complete and comprehensive investigation to resolve the case and the motives of the murder of lawyer Ravik Gurra, in order to hold perpetrators of this serious criminal act responsible.