Recent Admissions to the Bar Include Two High-Ranking Security Officials

In the last four months, at least two high-ranking security officers have been admitted to the bar. These include Mikhail Miguro (licensed on July 26, 2023) and Sergey Kukso (licensed on October 27, 2023).

M. Miguro previously served as the first deputy head of the department of internal affairs and chief of the criminal police at the Stolbtsy District Department of Internal Affairs in the Minsk region. Notably, he wasn’t even an investigator. Our project has previously highlighted issues at the Stolbtsy district legal advice office, where all three attorneys were summoned for recertification and found incompetent. Sources suggest this followed a domestic conflict with M. Tereshkov, former chairman of the Minsk Regional Bar Association. Consequently, the office, in a sizable district, operated without attorneys for an extended period, relying on externally assigned attorneys for citizen consultations. Miguro's appointment could be seen as an attempt to address the shortage of local attorneys. However, we view this approach critically, as the operational methods used in Belarus are antithetical to the values of the legal profession. It's important to remember that the head of the criminal police oversees all operational and investigative activities in a district.

Currently, M. Miguro serves as the second attorney at the Stolbtsy Legal Advice Office, with S. Gordeichik as the first attorney and head of the office. She received her licence at the end of 2022 and was previously affiliated with Minsk Regional Legal Advice Office № 5 (Minsk. K.Marksa str., 16/1).

S. Kukso has been involved in politically motivated criminal cases as an investigator since August 2020. He conducted and oversaw investigative actions involving political prisoners, assigned certain investigative actions to subordinate investigators and directly prepared and authorised operational, investigative, and procedural actions in criminal cases. Kukso directly co-led the investigations against Sviatlana Tihanovskaia, Maksim Znak, Maria Kolesnikova, and other political prisoners. He has been admitted to the legal advice office of Minsk's Central District.

We recall discussing legislative amendments regarding the Bar that simplified the examination procedure for former law enforcement and court officials, potentially easing their entry into the Bar. Initially, a surge in the number of law enforcement officials joining the Bar was anticipated following these amendments. However, this expectation was not met, as the ongoing decline in the number of attorneys did not coincide with a significant influx from law enforcement, judiciary, or prosecutorial backgrounds. The reasons are quite simple: few are willing to trade a regular and stable salary for the need to look for clients, self-earned income, and rising Bar maintenance contributions, particularly against the backdrop of diminishing public reliance on legal services.
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