Turkish court ruling supports women’s right for effective remedy in sexual assault cases
Mesut Hasan Benli - ANKARAA woman has the constitutional right to file a complaint against a person concerning sexual assault charges, no matter whether that person had been acquitted by the judiciary or not, a Turkish court has ruled.
“A person has the right and authority to ask for judicial action against persons who harm him/her, to ask for protection of his/her rights vis-à-vis these persons and, as a result, to ask to launch legal and punitive action against those who harmed him/her via both by appealing to judicial authorities and appealing to authorized officials. Freedom of the right for an effective remedy and personal rights may counter each other. One of them will have needed to value one of them above the other according to the specifics of each incident,” an Ankara court said.
The ruling was in relation to the case of N.Ö., a dentist working at a hospital, who filed a complaint against M.Y., chief physician working at the same hospital, on charges of sexual assault. In a report, Hacettepe University confirmed that “the woman’s mental health deteriorated.” Still, the court acquitted M.Y., saying that there was no “clear and convincing evidence.”
Afterwards, M.Y. took N.Ö. to the Ankara 27th Civil Court of First Instance asking for compensation because his reputation had been harmed.
The Ankara court eventually refused the appeal for compensation in recognition of everybody’s “freedom of the right for an effective remedy.”
“It is understood that as a result of the trial process, the acquittal ruling about the complainant was made because clear and convincing evidence could not be obtained. The acquittal decision is not because he didn’t commit the crime, but is because of lack of evidence. Persons cannot use their right to complain to penalize other persons. In the related case, the defendant [N.Ö.] used her legal right to complain about an issue in which she believes she was righteous. The expressions in the complaint petition are not in violation of the complainant’s [M.Y.] personal rights,” the court said.
“The defendant’s complaint is a complaint based on an indication in regards to the complainant within the context of the freedom of the right for an effective remedy which is covered in the constitution. Therefore, it is ruled to refuse the complainant’s case,” the court said.