Mechanism to be set up for lengthy trials

Mechanism to be set up for lengthy trials

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mechanism to be set up for lengthy trials

Ergin says the huge number of ECHR rulings against Turkey is a ‘shame.’ AA photo

Parliament’s Justice Commission approved late Oct. 31 a draft law to set up a special internal mechanism for those who appeal to the ECtHR to complain domestically about lengthy trial periods.

The move is the latest effort to decrease the huge number of applications lodged against the country at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to improve its dismal human rights record.

According to the bill, which was submitted to Parliament’s General Assembly for final debates, a commission will be set up in order to review cases in which trials are not finalized within a reasonable period and which have been already carried to the ECtHR.

The commission will be compromised of four judges or prosecutors appointed by the justice minister and a fifth member who will be appointed by the Finance Ministry. Within nine months after the application, the commission will make its ruling on whether to pay compensation.

The Turkish government hopes this commission will prevent further fines from the ECtHR. The ECtHR announced in March that it would not accept any case from Turkey in connection with long trial periods until September because Ankara is currently drafting a formula to address the issue.

The bill is another endeavor aimed at decreasing the number of applications against Turkey at the ECtHR, following the implementation of individual access to the Constitutional Court. As of Sept. 24, Turkish citizens have the right to personally apply to the Constitutional Court for alleged violations with regard to their fundamental rights and freedoms arising from the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Speaking at the commission meeting on Oct. 31, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the huge number of ECtHR rulings against Turkey was a “shame.”

“Turkey ranks at the top of the list of countries most frequently found in violation [of the ECHR] with 2,404 violation rulings, which should upset all of us. We also have a share in these [violations] for the last 10 years. We are working to decrease [this number] and clean it up in the medium and long term,” Ergin said.

The commission will carry out not judicial but administrative activity, Ergin said. “The commission will examine whether there is a long trial or not, in accordance with ECHR criteria.”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers criticized the bill. The CHP’s Dilek Akagün Yılmaz argued that the formation of the commission was improper and that representatives of the Council of State, Supreme Court of Appeal and Bar Association should have been included in it.