>VSA is stepping up the struggle for human rights

PRESS RELEASE – 14/10/2019

Johan Vande Lanotte Senior Legal Counsel at Van Steenbrugge Advocaten.

VSA is stepping up the struggle for human rights

The law firm Van Steenbrugge Advocaten (VSA) and Johan Vande Lanotte are teaming up in the struggle for human rights. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are under increasing pressure both at the national and international level. Protecting those (human) rights is universal and independent of politics. The international procedures are often long and debilitating, but that does not deter VSA. The firm wants to use the experience and expertise of Johan Vande Lanotte not only in the area of constitutional law and human rights, but also actively use his experience as a negotiator and mediator in the field of sports and corporate law.

Johan Vande Lanotte will work as a Senior Legal Counsel for VSA. For several years, VSA has been defending Turkish prisoners who have been arbitrarily imprisoned. On 28 May 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Committee condemned Turkey for arbitrary preventive detention. It concerned two people in particular, but the Committee also ordered Turkey to remedy similar violations. It concerns about 30,000 people. Following up on these human rights violations will be an important part of Johan Vande Lanotte’s assignment.

It is of utmost importance to defend individual victims of human rights violations. But VSA intends to take a more structural approach as well. To that end, the first contacts have already been made with independent international experts to set up a Turkey tribunal. This tribunal will examine the joint complaints concerning torture, abduction, denial of medical assistance, the imprisonment of political opponents and the suppression of the liberty of the press in a structural and thorough manner. Johan Vande Lanotte will dedicate most of his time to the creation of this tribunal.

In the struggle for victims of sexual abuse by members of the Church, fundamental human rights are also violated, for which VSA conducts national and international proceedings, including at the European Court of Human Rights. Johan Vande Lanotte’s expertise will also offer strong support here.

VSA specializes in sports and corporate law and wishes to expand sensibly in these areas. VSA applies the principle of “one-stop shopping”: the client can turn to VSA for the majority of his / her problems. Negotiation and mediation are crucial in these disciplines. More often than not, it’s cheaper and more efficient, avoiding long and complex procedures. Just think of the problems that sometimes arise between shareholders that are damaging the company. Johan’s negotiation expertise will be a huge added value for VSA in the areas of sports and corporate law.

King Filips’ mission has priority

The first contacts between Johan Vande Lanotte and VSA date back to May 2019. ‘It will undoubtedly be a coincidence, but on the day that King Filip appointed Johan Vande Lanotte as an ‘informateur’ together with Didier Reynders, Johan Vande Lanotte and I also had a joint first conversation about a possible collaboration. This meeting was planned earlier and our agreement in principle was made fairly quickly that evening. But we knew from the start that its implementation would have to wait until after the task of ‘informateur’”, Walter Van Steenbrugge explains. “That we can now add Johan Vande Lanotte to our team is an absolute added value for us. His expertise as a professor in constitutional law and human rights and his experience in negotiating are very important for our firm. We’re going to step up to the next level.”

For Johan Vande Lanotte, this is a completely new chapter in his career. (…) “This challenge appeals to me enormously. I said goodbye to politics at the end of 2018 and as a professor I will retire at the end of September 2020 (compulsory). That I now get the chance to use my experience at Van Steenbrugge Advocaten is an opportunity that I want to seize with both hands. But probably my biggest challenge, my greatest opportunity and my most considerable motivation is being allowed to work with a team of 30 driven, mostly young and very talented people and sometimes to curb them as an ‘eminence grise’, but mostly to challenge them and push them forward”, Johan Vande Lanotte concludes.

More information:
Decision by the Human Rights Committee of 28 May 2019:

telephone: 09/269 10 69

Mr Walter Van Steenbrugge
[email protected]

Johan Vande Lanotte
[email protected]



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About Van Steenbrugge Advocaten

Van Steenbrugge Advocaten helps both individuals and businesses of all sizes seeking advice or assistance in business, sports or criminal law.

Van Steenbrugge Advocaten aims to practice advocacy of an exceptionally high level, in which thoroughness, legal expertise and discernment, a multidisciplinary approach and a well-considered strategy are the building blocks, and which leads to socially relevant legal outcomes (in Belgium, Europe and worldwide) as far as possible. The firm believes strongly in 360-degree teamwork, with specialists in a variety of fields and an ongoing process of knowledge and strategy transfer. Our single-minded goal is to represent and defend our client’s interests as effectively and fairly as possible.


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