ROCCO GALATI, Lawyer—death threat

Re: ROCCO GALATI, Lawyer—death threat

To: The Honourable Wayne Easter, Solicitor General for Canada

From: Gail Davidson

Date: 2003-12-08

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of Canadian lawyers that campaigns internationally for the independence and security of lawyers and provides support to lawyers and other human rights advocates whose rights, safety, or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy.

LRWC is concerned by your comments to the press that Mr. Galati, ‘will receive the same treatment as anybody else,.’

Mr. Galati is not in the position of ‘anybody else’ and you commit a grave injustice to Mr. Galati, other lawyers and to the Canadian justice system by so stating.

The integrity of the Canadian justice system depends on the state giving top priority to protecting the independence and security of lawyers. The state has a duty to respond immediately to every instance in which a lawyer’s right to provide full representation is threatened. When there is a threat of death or injury, the state must respond by with special protection for the targeted lawyer and effective criminal investigations. The state’s quick and effective response to the threat against Mr. Galati is particularly crucial because the threat is clearly directed at preventing Mr. Galati, from continuing to test the legitimacy of legislation and the actions of government agents. A failure to protect Mr. Galati evinces a regrettable drift from rule of law principles by creating the (we trust erroneous) appearance of government reluctance to facilitate full representation of cases opposing government positions.

The slogan of the Colombian lawyers’ associations campaign for security–Without Lawyers No Justice-Sin Abogados No Hay Justicia–amply demonstrates the legal truism that in the absence of adequate security and independence for lawyers and other human rights advocates, there are no human rights.

LRWC urges you to act to ensure that Mr. Galati is provided immediately with whatever special protection is necessary to protect his both his safety and his professional independence.

We would appreciate a reply and thank you in advance for addressing this important issue.