CHP calls on top court to rescind new legal protections for civilians who ‘thwarted’ coup attempt
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has appealed to the Constitutional Court to rescind state of emergency decrees that provide criminal impunity to civilians who helped thwart the July 2016 coup attempt.
“This regulation is unacceptable in a state of law. This regulation could pave the way for an environment of anarchy in the future. For this reason, as the main opposition party, we have appealed to the Constitutional Court to rescind the provision,” CHP Deputy Leader Muharrem Erkek said on Mar. 14 speaking to journalists outside the high court in Ankara.
The move came after state of emergency decrees that included a provision to provide immunity to civilians was published in the Official Gazette in February. Issued on Dec. 24, the state of emergency decrees have now become law, paving the way for the main opposition to appeal to the high court.
Article 121 of the decree numbered 696 provides impunity for: “Those who acted within the framework of thwarting the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and the terrorist actions that followed afterwards, regardless of whether they have an official title or they are fulfilling an official duty.”
The measure has created uncertainties on whether the immunity would be valid for future coup attempts and terror acts, with opposition politicians saying the decree paves the way for the emergence of civilian militia groups.
The government has received criticism for providing blanket immunity to civilians who took part in suppressing the 2016 coup attempt, which frees them from criminal liability. Opposition groups have said the expressions ”of the provision are vaguely-worded and open to interpretation.
“The concept of thwarting is very abstract and ambiguous. What is understood as thwart?” Erkek said.
“Tomorrow some people may ‘thwart’ some other people who hit the streets to defend democracy, their basic rights and freedoms,” he said, adding that the defeat of unlawful deeds in a democratic society should be undertaken by the state’s security officials.
CHP Deputy Group Leader Özgür Özel on Mar. 10 said the CHP will appeal to the high court to rescind the decree provisions one by one.
He said the main opposition has been working with constitutional experts and lawmakers on the state of emergency decrees and will issue their objections soon.