Terror forms ‘barrier for new judicial reform’

Terror forms ‘barrier for new judicial reform’

ANKARA - Hürriyet
Terror forms ‘barrier for new judicial reform’

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, AA photo

The growing number of terrorist attacks in Turkey presents a formidable barrier to a fourth judicial reform package, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin has said, adding that the rate of terrorist activity must decrease to ensure that the legislative process can operate effectively.

Terrorism is impeding Turkey’s democratization, Ergin said, according to a daily Hürriyet article published yesterday. Putting an end to the number of cases that go against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights was directly related to the amount of terrorism in the country, he added.

“As such, we are carrying on with our work for the fourth judicial package in the hope that there will be positive improvements in the fight against terrorism,” Ergin said, noting that terrorism also presented a psychological barrier to such reform.

The new judicial package will be presented to Parliament when the legislature returns to work following its summer recess, he said.

Turkey has already implemented three judicial reform packages, but the fourth, which will cover human rights and freedom of expression and implement fundamental rights as outlined the European Convention on Human Rights, will only operate effectively if there is an acceptable reduction in the rate of terrorism, he said.

According to the Supreme Court of Appeals’ Board of Chairs, the fourth package will result in the completion of all civil law cases within one year and all criminal cases within 18 months, Ergin said.
After completing the backlog of civil cases, civil courts will complete all new cases within one year, he said, adding that criminal courts would likewise complete all new cases under their purview within 18 months following the liquidation of their current backlog.

“No one could even imagine this in Turkey before. The light is now there at the end of the tunnel,” the minister said.

“People are still asking us, ‘Why has my case still not finished after five years?’ When it becomes possible to complete their cases within a year, our citizens will be able to personally experience the legal reforms, the transformations and the changes occurring in Turkey. They will take a deep breath, as their cases will no longer be protracted.”