“JUST IN: Rwanda has deported Belgian lawyer Vincent Lurquin for violation of his tourist visa. Lurquin showed up in court on Friday, dressed up in a lawyer’s gown, as one of Paul Rusesabagina’s lawyers yet he is not licensed to practise in Rwanda” (The New Times (Rwanda), 21.08.2021).
You know… lawyers and advocates are supposed to be smart. They are supposed to read the room and have knowledge of law. In such a manner, that they can win a case and come up arguments to “save” or “win” for their clients. However, the Belgian Lawyer Vincent Lurquin isn’t that smart or brilliant. His a man who thinks his above the law.
If this case had been in Belgium and a Rwandan lawyer came to represent someone. First, the lawyer would need the right type of Visa and be allowed to enter the Kingdom. Secondly, the lawyer would need to accepted by the bar and by the authorities to be authorized to work. Therefore, the Rwandan lawyer couldn’t just show up on a tourist visa and expect to work or represent a client in the first place. The lawyer would have to peel the onion of all the layers to be allowed to do his work.
The same would be in regard to Lurquin who was brave enough or dumb for that matter. To think because of his heritage, nationality and profession. That he could just walk into a court room in Rwanda and represent his client without the right working visa and secondly not be authorized by the authorities to do so. That just shows ignorance and blatant disregard for Rwandan Bar Association and legal system.
He could have gotten way out, but he didn’t:
“Advocates from foreign Bar Associations shall be granted the right to practice if need be, provided they observe the regulations governing the Advocates’ profession in Rwanda. The President of the Bar Association has the power to grant such authorization” (International Bar Association – ‘Rwanda International Trade in Legal Services’).
Seemingly, there are provisions and possibilities for foreign lawyers to practice in Rwanda. They just needs to observe and follow regulations following the Rwandan Bar Association. Just like a Rwandan lawyer would have to follow the regulations of a Belgian Bar Association. That is just how things goes and I have little to no pity for fools like Lurquin.
Lurquin should know better… he is just acting arrogantly and without jurisdiction. He was out of his zone and had no rights to practice as a lawyer. No, matter if his client had hired him or not. The lawyer couldn’t just show up in court and act supreme without any prior authorization or viable working visa. That just show his arrogance and ignorance.
That is a disgrace and wouldn’t be acceptable anywhere else either. It is stupid and dumb. That a man of his profession is acting this way. Actually, this is illegal and it was righteous to deported.
For a lawyer and a attorney he is surely not worth his salary. He should know better and before he put himself on the plane to Kigali. The lawyer should have fixed the formalities and also applied through the proper channels. Since, they exists and even if they are time-consuming. It is the right thing to do. Especially, when you are representing someone who is seen as a terrorist, treasonous and been supporting armed militias to overthrow the current regime. At that very moment, you should be more careful and consider all angles, as every step or move you do will be analysed. However, he was a fool and he thought he could get away with it.
I don’t even think a Rwandan lawyer could pass the airport in Brussels without the right paperwork. The immigration and clearance unit into Schengen area would restrict access to the person. If they believed the “alien” would practice law without prior paperwork and visa’s to do so. Therefore, the Belgian Lawyer is lucky that he wasn’t getting into more trouble. He was able to fly and even participate on Friday in Court without license. That says it all.
He is not that bright. This will not shed a light on the case and neither be a valid argument for the proceedings. Only show how one of the defence lawyers was in contempt of the court. As he didn’t even care to follow the practice or the regulations of set court. Peace.