March 20, 2017

Statement of ABA President Linda Klein re: Attack on Palace of Justice in Damascus, Syria

The American Bar Association condemns the deadly attack March 15 on the Palace of Justice in Damascus, as well as the attack on a nearby restaurant.  We send our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who were killed or injured.

Courthouses must be safe places, where parties can go to resolve their disputes peacefully, in accordance with the rule of law. 

The vital role of judges and lawyers is reflected in fundamental precepts of international law.  The U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers call for all steps necessary to ensure that lawyers are able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference and to ensure that they are adequately safeguarded.  Similarly, the U.N. Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary underscore the importance of appropriate measures to protect judges from threats or interferences to ensure their security.

The ABA urges that all actions necessary be taken to ensure the safety and security of courts, judges, prosecutors, lawyers and others who play key roles in the Syrian justice system.  We stand in solidarity with all of those in Syria and elsewhere around the globe who serve and champion the rule of law.