Top Turkish court swamped by incomplete individual applications

Top Turkish court swamped by incomplete individual applications

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Top Turkish court swamped by incomplete individual applications

This file photo shows the members of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, which has been accepting individual applications since late September. AA photo

Ninety-five percent of the 1,600 applications lodged to the Constitutional Court through the newly introduced individual-access mechanism were incomplete, an official from the individual application office said.

Only 130 of total 1600 applications have been considered eligible and are being examined by the high court, Constitutional Court rapporteur İbrahim Çınar, who is responsible for the preliminary examination of applications, told Anatolia news agency yesterday.

Three hundred applications lodged by post were already considered flawed without preliminary examination, since applications should be lodged individually. One thousand of the remaining 1,300 applications were related to the right to a fair trial, Çınar said. Seventy applications complaining about lengthy detention periods are also included in those 1,000 applications. The other applications are related to the right to property, the principle of equality and several other rights.

The applicants whose applications were considered ineligible were given time to complete their applications properly, Çınar said.

In a move aimed at decreasing the huge number of applications lodged against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), individual access to the Constitutional Court became effective Sept. 24, 2012. Since then, Turkish citizens have the right to personally apply to the Constitutional Court based on alleged violations with regard to their fundamental rights and freedoms arising from the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Individual application

An individual who thinks that his or her fundamental rights and freedoms have been violated by a state institution is therefore able to file a case at the top court. However, this is only if they have exhausted all other administrative and judicial processes with their complaints before applying to the top court.

Çınar said some citizens regarded individual access to the Constitutional Court as an appellate procedure, and they filed their applications even though they had not exhausted all other judicial processes. “Some citizens lodged applications to the Constitutional Court to nullify the ruling of a court of first instance. Some asked Constitutional Court for a retrial or revision of ruling. Some inmates demanded their release or acquittal,” Çınar said.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court gave its first verdicts over files lodged through individual access. During its Dec. 25, 2012 meeting, the top court rejected four individual applications.

Three of the applications were found “inadmissible in terms of time” as only verdicts finalized after Sept. 23, 2012 can be subject to individual access to the top court. The other applicant applied to the top court claiming that his right to a fair trial was breached, but this application was also rejected.