IBA Concerned at Disbarment of Lawyer in Equatorial Guinea

The International Bar Association (IBA) is concerned to learn of the recent resolution by the Bar Association in Equatorial Guinea to disbar lawyer Fabian Nsue Nguema from practice. Mr Nguema had not received any prior notice of any allegations against him, nor was he given the opportunity to defend himself against any allegations.

The IBA contends that the disbarment of Mr Nguema is purely political and contravenes any normal procedure or disciplinary process of an independent judicial system.

The decision to disbar him was reportedly made in conjunction with the Government. This contradicts the assurances to the IBA delegation in 2003, by the Minister of Justice and the then President of the Bar, that the Bar Association was entirely independent and free from interference by the Executive.

The IBA Executive Director, Mark Ellis, says, ‘The disbarment of this lawyer, and the manner in which this has been handled by the Bar Association in Equatorial Guinea is very worrying. This method of intimidation means that lawyers will be reluctant to take on politically sensitive cases for fear of being associated with their client. The administration of justice in Equatorial Guinea continues to be of grave concern to the IBA.’

For further information, please contact:


Esther Major
International Bar Association
Human Rights Institute
Programme Officer
10th Floor
1 Stephen Street
London W1T 1AT
United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7691 6868
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7691 6544
E-mail: esther.major@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org


Romana St Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association
Press Office
10th Floor
1 Stephen Street
London W1T 1AT
United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7691 6868
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7691 6544
E-mail: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org


Background Notes:

The IBA sent a mission to Equatorial Guinea in 2003, due to reports of a breakdown in the rule of law and torture.

The people of Equatorial Guinea have almost no access to legal protection or many of the basic human rights according to an International Bar Association (IBA) Report released in 2003. The IBA Report also found freedoms of expression and association were also suppressed. Political control is concentrated within a small elite which holds the executive and judicial powers, without effective separation.