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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR: Raimondi finds Turkish reply for Torture "Excellent News"

ECHR: Raimondi finds Turkish reply for Torture "Excellent News"

Written by ACM
Thursday, 26 January 2017
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*Strasbourg/ECHR/Angelo Marcopolo/- Mr. Guido Raimondi, who holds ECHR's Top Job at its Head since 2015, appeared Glad to Anounce Today, from Early Morning, in an Exceptionaly Shortened Press Conference, with about 35 Minutes of Q/R, (the Only one that Strasbourg Journalists used to have during a Whole Year, normaly very Much Longer), read a Written Declaration Anouncing, particularly, that he Found the Turkish regime's latest Reply to Numerous Denonciations of Torture and Inhuman/Degrading Treatments, (including Mob Lynching attempts, Brutal Humiliations, Rapes, etc), in Addition to Arbitrary Deprivations of Liberty, etc, as already Documented even by several European/International NGOs specialized in Human Rights, Victims' Families and/or Friends, etc, as ... "Excellent News".


That "Excellence" consists merely into ...Setting up of "a Commission", appointed by the Turkish Government, (i.e. the Same that is Accused of Torture and/or Many Other Serious Violations of Human Rights, particularly Since the Summer 2016 Massive Arrests, Prosecutions, etc., of Many Tens of Thousand of People, including even Judges, Journalists, Educators, Civil Servants, Young Conscript Soldiers, Policemen, Doctors, etc).


According to converging CoE's Sources, it's also that Turkish "Commission", which reportedly served as a Pretext or Claim, Earlier this Week in Strasbourg, in order for a Minority to Hinder even a Crystal-Clear Majority of MEPs in CoE's Parliamentary Assembly to hold an "Urgent Debate" on Turkey, which could have had also some Far-Reaching Repercussions, even vis a vis EU - Ankara developments, (Comp.,f.ex.:....).

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To one of the Rare Critical Questions in such an Exceptionaly and UnExpectedly Shortened "Press Conf", raised by an Experienced French Collegue for a Radio, about whether such a Turkish "Commission" might be, in Fact, "Dangerous" for Human Rights, it was practicaly Replied that ECHR,simply, intends to "Follow Closely" its functioning in real Practice, (withOut Explaining How and When exactly), and that "the Point" was that the Victims of Torture, if they found, Later-on, that the Conclusions of that "Commission" Failed to provide Urgently Needed Redress for Grave Human Rights Violations, then, they  "could" Lodge also anOther Legal Complaint, this time in front of a Turkish Court...

 

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I.e., Afterwards, the Victims in eventual Urgent Need for Protection and Redress, could also Make Several More Legal Complaints, in Many Other Turkish outlets, (f.ex., Appeals, Superior Court, etc., including another Application to the Turkish "Constitutional Court", recently Established in order to "Filter" and/or Delay even more the Moment when, at last, f.ex. a Heavily Tortured Prieoner might be, finaly, legaly able to Lodge an Individual Complaint to Strasbourg's ECHR. Then, he would, notoriously have to Wait for several Years, before a Judgement might be issued, later on, in hs favor, or not. If it's not yet that, the Victim might, eventualy, Try to Reach ECHR's Grand Chamber, (but that's nota guaranteed Right at all, depending on the Discretion of an ECHR's internal Team, which doesn't even Motivate at all its Decisions to Accept or Refuse even to Consider such an Ultimum Remedium quest.


Regrettably, it wasn't even mentioned How Much Time might Need, in Real Practice, for all those Delicate and Complex Legal Procedures, a Tortured and f.ex. repeatedly Raped Dissident, Arbitrarily Deprived of Liberty and Closed in Turkish Prisons, where he/she might be Facing, each Hour, Day, Week, Month, Trimester, Semester, Year, etc., a Too Long Series of Inhuman/Degrading Treatment, withOut any Timely Help.


It's only Known that, mutatis-mutandis, f.ex., certain Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced People, (particularly 2 Different Old Women, etc), have notoriously ...Died, while Waiting, in vain, at least a Judgement to be issued by the ECHR, after Too Many Years of persistent Deprivation of any Access to their Famil Home and/or other Private Properties, in their Ancestral Land, where Turkey's Military Invasion and Occupation forces still Hinder them to Return, (Comp. f.ex., former Long-Time ECHR President, professorJulius Wildhaber's moving, sincere "Excuses", communicated to "Eurofora"s co-Founder, when we Raised that Dramatic Question in an ECHR Press Conference in Strasbourg, on behalf of the remaining Family of that Deceased Refugee Woman, who had been Vainly Waiting for, at least, an Elementary Justice, for Too Long : See our relevant Publication, then at TCWeekly, etc.....).

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Even After such Moves, a Jailed Victim of Torture in Turkish Prisons, notoriously Full after Massive Arrests since 2016, would also have to Wait, probably much Longer, for CoE's Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, to Start Discussing his/her Case during their Trimestrial or Semestrial Meetings on ECHR Judgements' Implementation, Hoping that, at last, After Many More Years of Delay, he/she might, eventualy, see at least an Elementary Justice to be done. (Without Guarantee, as Too Many still Pending Cases for Execution, including even on some among the Most Serious Violations of Human Rights, as, f.ex., that of "MISSING" People and Victims' Families, etc., Many of whom still Vainly Wait for Justice to be done, according to the Principles that ECHR's well established Case-Law had clearly published and reiterated even recently)...


Wouldn't it be obviously Better, if one applied, in the case of Human Rights Violations' Victims, the Same rapid Celerity, Hasty Moves, and sharply Shortened Time Deadlines, as f.ex. those which UnExpectedly, withOut any Previous Warning, and Contrary to the Established Practice, Suddenly, provoked, Earlier Today, an Exceptionaly Short "Annual Press Conference" at the ECHR, with Only a Few Tens of Minutes for all Strasbourg Journalists' (supposed to Express the main Concerns of more than 800 Millions of People throughout all CoE's PanEuropean area !) Questions/Replies in a whole Year (i.e. 365 Days !), something Never Seen Before in more than 24 Years of ECHR's Press Experience (+9/1993-2017), which practicaly Hindered us (and, perhaps, also others, if we wereNot the Only one Targetted) to have a Real Chance to Raise Any Topical Question on Human Rights developments at an ECHR's Press Conference for a whole Year, (after also several Time-Destroying, various sly Harassments during particularly the Last Few Days, notoriously Overloaded with Many Interesting and Important CoE's and Other Activities) ?


Naturaly, if it's also the Victims of serious Human Rights Violations who might have a Chance, for their badly and Urgently Needed Protection, to Benefit from such Fast-Track, Quick-Fix, Exceptionaly Shortened Procedures, in order to Obtain Justice, then, obviously, they would be very Glad to do so, and the PanEuropean Mechanism for the Protection of Humab Rights would Work much Better than that, for the General European Interest, and of that of any Good and Honest People in our Continent, whose History is written also Here and Now...

(../..)


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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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