HSYK bill represents regression of judicial independence in Turkey: CoE human rights commissioner
Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, slammed the controversial bill on Turkey’s key judicial body. AA PhotoA senior Council of Europe official slammed Feb. 17 the controversial bill on Turkey’s key judicial body adopted by Parliament over the weekend following a week of uncertainty and bargaining.
“Despite last-minute amendments limiting damage, changes to the HSYK [Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors] law represent a regression of judicial independence,” Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks said via Twitter in the first reaction from a European official regarding the much decried law restructuring the HSYK.
The most controversial articles on the bill were initially frozen after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Brussels last month, during which he was strongly encouraged to hold back on some of the law’s more controversial aspects. However, the ruling Justice and Democracy Party (AKP) rekindled the proposals together with a new “legal package” that included the abolition of specially authorized courts as part of a move that could potentially result in retrials in coup cases.
There are many good changes in the bill to remove special assize courts, but it is a bad idea to allow compensation claims versus the judiciary, Muiznieks also said.
The bill was eventually approved in a session marred by fisticuffs between MPs and injuries. The opposition vowed to take the package directly to the Constitutional Court without waiting for a presidential evaluation.
Another controversial law on the Internet is awaiting President Abdullah Gül’s review, although the bill has been criticized as a government attempt to curb Internet freedoms. Many international NGOs and Turkish opinion leaders have slammed the bill, calling on Gül to veto the proposal.