ECHR vice president calls on Turkey’s top court to rapidly conduct coup trials

ECHR vice president calls on Turkey’s top court to rapidly conduct coup trials

ECHR vice president calls on Turkey’s top court to rapidly conduct coup trials European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Vice President Işıl Karakaş has called on Turkey’s Constitutional Court to “carry out coup trials rapidly” amid overcrowding in prisons.

“The workload of the Constitutional Court is too much. There are more applications in the court’s agenda than the total number of cases brought to the ECHR from 47 countries. How to deal with it is another subject. However, there are issues that can’t wait. They should be handled with priority and decisions should be given rapidly,” Karakaş told Deutsche Welle on Feb. 3, as she praised the establishment of a new seven-member state of emergency commission in Turkey that will receive appeals against state of emergency measures.

“A new domestic legal way has been opened. It’s an administrative body, not a judicial one, we should see that. The commission has been criticized as if it’s a judicial body. People question whether it fits the principles of law. That’s not important. It’s definitely not significant for us. A domestic legal way was established that people can apply to. The most important thing is that the legal way is open against commission decisions,” she also said. 

Karakaş said it would not be a problem if a majority of the commission members were assigned by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“That’s because it’s not an organ related to the judiciary or not a half-judicial body. It’s a completely administrative body. The structure of the judiciary commissions can be this way. What’s important is that there is a way to appeal against the decision of the commission. What’s important for us is that the decisions of the commission are subjected to judicial control,” she said.

Asked whether there was another domestic way to prevent cases related to the July 2016 failed coup attempt from being sent to the ECHR, Karakaş said the government had done what it could administratively “very well.”

“However, there are those arrested. The judiciary should rapidly decide on the situation of those arrested. According to the European Convention on Human Rights, the decisions should be given fast. There should be reasonable doubt for the continuation of arrest,” she said. 

Meanwhile, 120 lawyers assigned by the bar to defend suspects in a case into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) in the western province of İzmir have announced their resignation. The group’s alleged leader, U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, is the main suspect in the case, in which a total of 240 suspects are being tried.