Who are the initiative-takers?
The Van Steenbrugge Advocaten (VSA) law firm is a Belgium-based firm that has handled various cases for Turkish citizens. For example, VSA lawyers defended Ismet Özçelik and Turgay Karaman before the UN Human Rights Committee, inter alia on the grounds of kidnapping and unlawful deprivation of liberty (CCPR/C/125/D/2980/2017, March 2019).
The initiative is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Johan Vande Lanotte, professor at the University of Ghent, who at the end of the 1980s was one of the first in Flanders region in Belgium to give a fully-fledged Human Rights course.
- 1986: PhD in Law at Ghent University
- 1988 – present: Associate professor of constitutional law and human rights at the University of Ghent
- Deputy Prime Minister in federal governments in Belgium (1995-1998, 1999-2003, 2003-2005, 2011-2014)
- 2006: Appointed Minister of State by King Albert II
- 2018 – present: Senior Legal Counsel at the office of Van Steenbrugge Advocaten