This year the Belarusian Bar turned 100 years old. Unfortunately, almost the entire history of the Bar of sovereign Belarus is a story about weakening and loss of independence. One of the significant events marking the loss of another piece of the independence of the Bar was the 2010 elections. It was then that the first mass "punishment" of attorneys who defended political opponents of the current regime took place.
At the same time, on the other hand, that same year was marked by the election of a new presidium within “the strongest” and the most numerous Minsk City Bar Association following a transparent and competitive procedure. Certain hopes for a new life within the Belarusian Bar were connected with the new presidium. However, something went wrong again.
Our project asked an attorney* Natalia Matskevich to speak about the Bar and lawyers’ work back then, post-2010 changes, and whether there could have been anything different. Natalia speaks with one of the persons directly involved in those events –– an attorney* Pavel Sapelko, who defended Andrei Sannikov and Pavel Severinets in 2010-2011.
*We intentionally do not use the word "ex" in relation to attorneys who have been deprived of a license or excluded from the bar following the procedures carried out in violation of the principles of the bar