Venice Commission head warns Turkey about ‘hasty’ judicial bill

Venice Commission head warns Turkey about ‘hasty’ judicial bill

The head of the Venice Commission has expressed a staunch warning to Turkey Jan. 14 on refraining from hasty judicial reforms that would endanger the independence of the judiciary.

The commission is the main advisory body of the Council of Europe on constitutional matters.

“I would like to underline the Venice Commission has not seen and even less, examined this text. However, we are aware serious concerns have been raised as to the compatibility of the amendments with international standards and the Turkish Constitution,” president of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio said in a statement when he was asked about the position of the Venice Commission on the proposed amendments. “By contrast, the current legislation, introduced only a few years ago, was positively assessed by the Venice Commission and is generally compatible with international standards.”

“Under these circumstances I can only strongly warn against making hasty decisions. The independence of the judiciary is of the utmost importance and in no case should the judiciary be subject to the control of the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, no law in this area should be adopted, and even less implemented, before its compatibility with international standards and the Turkish Constitution has been thoroughly examined and confirmed,” Buquicchio said.

“If the law were adopted and submitted to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey, implementation of the law should not begin before its constitutionality is confirmed by the Court.”

Buquicchio added the Venice Commission was ready, if asked, to examine the draft law, if appropriate, in co-operation with other Council of Europe bodies.