This paper, presented at International Bar Association's 10th Transnational Crime Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 2007 begins from the premise that, as the world becomes more complex and therefore more dangerous, governments seek to limit individual rights in the name of crime control and/or national security. The paper cautions that we must always keep in mind that individual rights once lost are not easily regained. Accordingly, the unique and important role of an independent bar in protecting and defending liberty is more, not less, important than ever before. Thus, the efforts of the lawyers, military and civilian, to protect the rights of Guantanamo detainees, the courageous efforts of Karina Moskalenko to make legal rights meaningful in Russia, the refusal of Chief Justice Chaudry to compromise the independence of his Supreme Court, and the willingness of lawyers to take to the streets to support him are all part of a fight to preserve and protect the rule of law. These lawyers and judges remind us that preserving the rule of law, often is a challenge requiring self-sacrifice and risk-taking, is something never to be taken for granted. If any good comes from governmental efforts to deny detainees lawyers, it is a reminder of the importance of an independent bar.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 282; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 282
Stephen A. Saltzburg, The Importance of an Independent Bar, 22 Crim. Just. (2008).