Judges ‘complained of courts of appeal’
Some 27 high criminal court head judges in Istanbul issued a formal complaint against the intermediate courts of appeal by the end of last year, arguing that these courts “may compromise judicial credibility,” Doğan News Agency has reported.
The complaint, filed on Dec. 14, 2016, reportedly criticized the appeal courts’s reversal of local court rulings, along with the
influence of the former judicial body Supreme Court of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and the Justice Ministry.
The judges’ complaint from over a year ago has been revealed after the Istanbul 14th Heavy Criminal Court recently decided to resist an Istanbul court of appeal, which had reversed the local court’s ruling to release jailed CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu.
The local court sent its initial decision back to the appeal courts on Nov. 7, arguing that the court’s “reverse decision was unlawful.”
This move was criticized for being outside the local court’s legal jurisdiction, with critics saying local courts have no right to resist higher court rulings. It has also now been revealed that Istanbul Heavy Criminal Court judges have warned top judicial bodies about appeal court rulings.
The judges wrote that the appeal courts have been reversing most local court decisions. “Most of these rulings to reverse local court decisions are against the established methods and law, sometimes to an extent that can be regarded as misconduct or misfeasance,” they wrote.
“For this reason, the Istanbul Heavy Criminal Court Heads have come together and decided to convey the situation to the related authorities in order to find a solution,” they added.
“It was assessed that the aforementioned reasons are against the founding principles of the appeal courts, the aim of the legislation that established the appeal courts, and the letter and spirit of the code of criminal procedure. It was also assessed that the issue should immediately be tackled, otherwise the situation could threaten the credibility of the law,” they wrote.
The intermediate appeal courts came into service on July 20, 2016, to receive appeals about cases that deal with offences with a punishment of fewer than five years. They were intended as a mediator mechanism to ease the number of cases filed at higher courts.