As if acid has been poured on justice

As if acid has been poured on justice

Our justice system is undergoing a major crisis at the moment with internal tensions, pressures, lynchings and ever-groveling credibility, all of them decomposing justice as if aqua fortis has been spilled over it.

Indeed, the honest and impartial judges and prosecutors who make up the vast majority of the judiciary at all levels view this picture with deep misery, but they have nothing else to do except reach an honest decision.

Just like in economics, the principle that “bad money drives out good” and affects honest and impartial judges and prosecutors is a threat that should make all of us sleepless.

According to pro-government sources, the reason for this is the “parallel structure.” Of course, the excesses in such cases as the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) cases are quite apparent.

However, the government is now taking advantage of this and is trying to turn the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) into a branch of the Justice Ministry and thus, with this method, supervise justice. The amendments made in the Judicial Police Regulations and the HSYK Law, the appointments made in the HSYK by violating its own regulations, placing “preferred” judges and prosecutors into positions of importance with special laws, and the ministry organizing the election campaign of HSYK, all serve this purpose.

Moreover, faction building in the judiciary is no longer a secret. Now, there is not only the Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), but also several other official and unofficial factions that have been formed within the judiciary.

If we go to court, which faction, which power will deal with us?

Election war at the HSYK

The HSYK was an ideological oligarchy in the past and was elected by a narrow platform; this was how they were structured by the Sept. 12 regime. With the 2010 constitutional referendum, the “diversity” and “wide grassroots” principles of the Venice Criteria were introduced, but…

The fact that a ballot box will determine the 10 members of the HSYK initiated struggles to seize the HSYK, thus sharpening various tendencies in the judiciary and factionalizing them.

I have written in the past that a ballot box election for the HSYK would invite “other factors” instead of professional competence, which would damage the justice system. Instead of this, the selection of members based on criteria such as experience, academic degrees, scientific legal publications and performance should be adopted. 

Don’t we know what kinds of problems have been caused by the election of the head of departments in the Supreme Court of Appeals? Are we going to factionalize the grassroots of justice now as well?
I have also criticized the representation of higher judicial bodies in the HSYK and the possibility that some members of the HSYK are trying to promote themselves in order to be elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

In order to lower this inconvenience, a rule was introduced for the HSYK elections that each judge and prosecutor would vote for one candidate instead putting forward a list. Thus, it was made very difficult for any faction or political power to have its own list elected, thus improving pluralism within the HSYK…

In addition, judicial inspectors, together with the bureaucracy in charge of the personal affairs of judges and prosecutors, were moved from the ministry to the independent HSYK. There were several other reasons to say “yes” in the referendum, such as the introduction of individual applications to the Constitutional Court.

However, after the referendum, the Constitutional Court, overriding its jurisdiction, cancelled the article related to “one vote per one candidate,” triggering the war of “lists” that we have in the judiciary today.

The government, on the other hand, has said it “made a mistake,” and has since enacted a law that emptied the HSYK bureaucracy and Inspection Board and filled both with names it preferred.    

The result: The current state of the judiciary.