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Home arrow newsitems arrow Turkey attacks ECHR, asks to "reverse its case-law" and to restrict Citizens' access !

Turkey attacks ECHR, asks to "reverse its case-law" and to restrict Citizens' access !

Written by ACM
Friday, 29 May 2009

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Un unprecedented brutal attack by Turkey against the European Court of Human Rights was confimed in Strasbourg, by a symbolic coincidence on 29 May 2009, day of a Double Anniversary  :

Byzantine Civilisation's destruction, by the invasion of its capital, Constantinople, by Ottoman Turks on 29 May 1453, (outlawing Christian Churches as St. Sophia, erasing the city's name : "Constantinople" as the greco-Roman emperor who liberated Christians from persecution in 330). But also of the 29 May 2005 Referendum in France where a 54,8% Majority voted "NO" to EU Constitution, notoriously victim of popular reactions to Turkey's controversial claim to enter inside the EU..

Will European Court of Human Rights prove ...stronger and harder to destroy than ...the Byzantine Civilisation and EU Constitution ?

ECHR is generaly considered as CoE's jewel, particularly since the 2005 Warsaw Summit of Heads of State and Government which decided that the paneuropean organization should focus on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law  

 But Turkey dared ask from ECHR to "reverse" its "Case-Law", accusing EuroJudges to "provoke" "Damages to the System" by defending Human Rights too much in Ankara's view...    

constantinople__echr_29_may_1453__2009_400 

Converging CoE's sources confirmed to "EuroFora" that the Turkish attack against ECHR started earlier this week in Strasbourg.

    Astonished (or amused) 46 Ambassadors at CoE's Committee of Ministers, heard this week in Strasbourg a last-minute intervention by the Turkish Ambassador, in which Ankara anounced its refusal to apply a key decision on ECHR taken by CoE's Foreign Ministers' meeting on May 12 in Madrid in order to enhance ECHR's efficiency:

- Turkey "will Not implement the .. New Procedures" on ECHR's reform.  It Refuses "either option" decided by the other CoE Countries, declared Ankara's Ambassador.


    In fact, Ankara seems afraid that ..."by rendering Faster Just Satisfaction awards, a 3 Judge Committee procedure, may .. encourage more applications" from victims of grave Human Rights Violations notoriously continuing in Turkey, according to one of its own observations..

    Thanks to a clever move by Spanish Diplomacy, the 46 other CoE's Foreign Ministers succeeded to adopt in Madrid on May 12 what is known as "Protocol 14bis" by voting fast at a moment that the Turkish Foreign Minister M. Davutoglou had left the room for a while...

    But Turkey's aggression against the ECHR, resulted to an obvious Absurdity, that many will find scandalous :   

 - THE same State which is notoriously responsible for the difficulties faced by ECHR, by overloading Strasbourg's Court with many cases of grave Violations of Human Rights, Turkey, (No 1 by far, in all ECHR's Statistics !), dared attack its own victim, ECHR, by accusing it to be .. itself responsible for suffering from the problems exported from Ankara !..   

 - It's the European "Court's own actions" which are in "the root-Causes of the Backlog Problem", claimed the Turkish Ambassador  :


    He started by accusing ECHR to have "adopted Easy and Simple rules for Applications to it", mainly because "there are No Application Fees"

    In other words, Ankara wants that ECHR starts to ask Victims of Human Rights Violations to .."Pay a Fee" before being able to access Strasbourg's Court. (And even to ..."translate" all their Documents to an "official" Language, etc).

    By so doing, Ankara forgets that she has been ....condemned by the ECHR precisely for " Violation of the Human Right to Access to a Court" inside Turkey itself, by asking People to Pay "a substantial amount of Money" as "Fees", and without any Legal Aid for the Poor, before they might be heard by any Judge...

    Moreover, Turkey accuses ECHR for  :

- "Generous Sums of Just Satisfaction awards contained in the Court's Judgements", which "transfomed" the right to individual application in an "Industry" (sic !), according to Ankara... ("Forgeting", f.ex. that the Families of 9 "Missing" persons didn't get even 1 € from ECHR in 2008, despite its unanimous condemnation of Turkey's responsibilities for their enforced "disappearance").

- to have "decided in many cases that recourse to Domestic Remeries is Not Necessary", (as fex. on grave violations of Kurds' Human Rights, because of the notorious inefficiency of Turkish Courts, which only waste Time, and in Cyprus' Occupied Territories).

- Shamefully trying to hide Grave Violations of Human Rights behind  provoked Waste of Time to the detriment of the Victims, Turkey also accuses ECHR for an "extraordinary broadening of the Rationae TEMPORIS principle", (thanks to which Loizidou and other Greek Cypriot REFUGEES, as well as "MISSING" Persons' Families, etc, succeeded to condemn Turkey).

    Multiplying attacks mainly against the "unpredictable Admissibility", as it claims, of applications by ECHR,
    Turkey insuled as "Preposterous" even the idea that ECHR might be a "Succes", (rejecting a well known sentence by ECHR's President, French Professor Jean-Paul Costa, that "ECHR is victim of its own success" by attracting too many applications..

    Going even further, Turkey also accused ECHR for issuing, as it claims, "Contradictory Judgements", (without even explaining her claim), and even "Differentiated Judgements for Different respondent States", (i.e. accusing ECHR for Discrimination against Ankara only),

    => In conclusion, Turkey dared ask from ECHR to ...behave "Reasonably", and even to... "Reverse"  "trends in the Court's Case-Law", accusing EuroJudges from 47 CoE Member States to "provoke.Damage to the System" !!!...
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ECHR's "reply" :
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     Instead of any other reply, ECHR's President, French Professor Jean-Paul Costa, issued a brief, but crystal-clear  official statement, where he simply "thanks those (CoE's) Member States which worked to make possible a new protocol (opened to signature), showing their attachment to the protection mecanism issued from the European Convention of Human Rights"...  

However, the Turkish Ambassador promised, at least, "not to stand in the way" of other CoE's Countries, who would like to implement that procedural reform, which mainly restricts the Number of Judges who can declare an Application "inadmissible" to only 1 or 3 members, according to cases.

    - "But we (ECHR) shall wait until the end of May, to see if there won't be any obstacle to the entry into force of the new Protocol 14 bis", said to "EuroFora" the Director of ECHR's Registrar, Eric Friberg of Sweden.
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    [NDLR : On certain Risks of imbalances against Human Rights and Citizens' Right to Individual Petition, that the simplified Protocol 14-Bis might have, according to International NGOs, and some CoE Member States, etc,  which should not be overshadowed, nor covered-up by Turkey's move, "EuroFora" will come back asap.].

       

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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

imag0335_400


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
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ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
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    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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