Council of Europe concerned over government’s ‘hasty’ judicial bill


Date posted: January 17, 2014

EUROPE

The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights has expressed serious concerns over a “hasty” judicial bill under which the government plans to change the structure of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

“I am seriously concerned by the speed which these proposals are making their way to the Parliament. Anything that is affecting the impartiality and self-governance of the judiciary should be done in a very careful and measured way, [with consultations] not only domestically but internationally,” Nils Muiznieks said in an interview.

“The Council of Europe (CoE), my office and the Venice Commission have been very engaged. So we feel we have strong stake for what happens there. The substance of some of these proposals seems to be a large step backward,” the Latvian diplomat said.

The government had suggested that the HSYK be restructured so that it more closely resemble the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), meaning the parties in Parliament would be given seats on the HSYK in proportion with their numbers in Parliament.

‘Leave it to judiciary’

“It is shifting powers from the general assembly of the HSYK to the minister of justice,” he said, noting that the CoE believes that issues under discussion such as disciplinary powers, the power to set the timetable, the composition of different sections of the body and the organization of its work were best left to the judiciary itself.

“There are clear standards by the Venice Commission on this. We think that this would not only affect the independence and impartiality of the judiciary but basically undermine confidence in it,” he said, adding that this was the core of amendments in 2010.

“This was approved in a referendum. To revisit this in a very hasty manner after that long process of consultation and democratization that took place at that referendum raises a lot of questions on why this is being done so quickly and what the aim of it is,” Muiznieks said.

Muiznieks refused to comment on the influence of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement in the judiciary. “It is not really my role try to identify different groupings of individuals within the judiciary. What I am concerned about is that you went through a process of reforming the judiciary in consultation with my office, the Venice Commission and others. All of the work that has been done in recent years is now threatened … in a very quick and unclear process,” he said.

“If there is criminal behavior going on in the judiciary or anywhere else, of course that should be subject to criminal proceedings. But we were satisfied in large terms with the way the judiciary was being reformed with the constitutional amendments; we were also very pleased about the role of the HSYK in terms of complying with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgments as being importance performance criteria. The HSYK provides guidance to the judiciary on this because this was a major step forward in bringing the Turkish judiciary more in line with CoE standards. We were very pleased with that and we see these achievements are at risk. This is very concerning to us,” he said.
The commissioner also underlined the independence and impartiality of judiciary. “The independence and impartiality of judiciary are pillars of any democratic society. It is clear that if implemented, this would undermine the public trust in the judiciary,” he said.

According to Muiznieks, Turkey is sending mixed signals, starting with its response to the Gezi Park or June resistance and now proceeding with corruption allegations. “Turkey has been sending contradictory signals for a good time now. During my visit to Turkey following the Gezi events, we were expressing serious concerns over police violence in demonstrations. On one hand, you have democratization packages with very progressive elements being proposed, on the other hand, you have proposals that, if implemented, will seriously undermine the progress that was made for the independence of the judiciary. So, the picture is a mixed and contradictory one. We would like to see a more consistent and human rights-oriented image projected,” he said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily , January 17, 2014


Related News

Erdoğan says his gov’t will carry out ‘witch hunt’

There are rumors that the only criteria behind these purges is links to a “parallel state,” a term the government has been using to define the Hizmet movement, which is a grassroots movement based on voluntary participation to spread interfaith dialogue and tolerance, with a particular emphasis on education.

German ambassador: Berlin does not recognize Gülen movement as ‘terrorist’ group

German Ambassador to Turkey Martin Erdmann has said his country’s judiciary does not recognize the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization and that Turkey should present credible evidence of criminal activity to Germany for the extradition of Gülen-linked individuals.

Irrationality rules

Nobody outside of Turkey understands why a government that claims to be innocent and portrays itself as the victim of dirty conspiracies uses every legal — and according to many illegal — means at its disposal to stop further investigations and punish those who gathered the evidence or wrote the indictments.

Fethullah Gulen: Turkish Scholar, Cleric — And Conspirator?

Al-Jazeera America reporter Jamie Tarabay interviewed Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen in his home last spring. It was published in The Atlantic last August. Gulen is a Turkish spiritual leader to millions of Turks, both in Turkey and around the world, and the head of the Gulen movement. His network of followers spans the globe, and it has opened academically-focused schools in 90 countries, including the U.S.

Turkish minister’s leaked emails show pro-gov’t figure has eye on Gülen-linked dormitory

Leaked emails of Turkey’s energy minister and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Berat Albayrak, have revealed plans by a pro-government figure to assume ownership of a dormitory in Kayseri province that used to be operated by the Gülen movement but was closed down by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Dozen people hold demonstration in front of Zaman to protest corruption coverage

The protestors held up a banner bearing the picture of Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen saying that he despises the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. “Pick up your traitorous comrades and your prep schools, and get out of here, go to Israel, the US,” the script at the bottom of the banner said. The protest followed a series of public remarks over the weekend by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who attacked Zaman without mentioning it by name.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

A Hizmet Approach to Rooting out Violent Extremism

National Development Requires Peaceful Co-existence

Istanbul court re-arrests former Zaman reporter minutes before leaving prison

What’s Friendship Got to Do With [Mr. Gulen’s] Extradition?

Police report accuses Gülen based on fabricated ‘gov’t media’ stories

The Alliance for Shared Values Statement on Ankara Attacks

Deputy Bal says did not resign from AK Party on anyone’s orders

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News