World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Turkey: President Should Veto Judiciary Law

Would Expand Government Control, Undermine Rule of Law
February 21, 2014

(Istanbul) - President Abdullah Gul should veto a law that would curb the independence of the body that administers and regulates Turkey’s judiciary.

On February 15, 2014, Turkey’s parliament passed comprehensive amendments to the existing law on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (Hakimler ve Savcılar Yüksek Kurulu, HSYK). The new law gives the justice minister, who already heads the council, more direct control over the body and a stronger role in its decision making. The changes will increase the likelihood of judges and prosecutors being disciplined or reassigned at the behest of the government.

“Turkey’s new judiciary law means just one thing and that is greater government control over the judiciary,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch. “For the sake of the rule of law in Turkey, President Gul should veto the new law.”

One of the most important signals of stronger government control in the law relates to the council’s own inspection board, which regulates the conduct of council members. Under the new law, the board’s chairman and deputy chairman would be ministerial appointments, with the chairman reporting directly to the justice minister.

The new law also gives the justice minister the power to authorize the investigation of council members for misconduct and disciplinary matters, raising clear concerns about the possibility of politically motivated decisions and a form of entrenched government pressure on the council. Subsequent decisions to prosecute a council member would be made by the council’s general assembly. But the justice minister’s overwhelming control over the inspection board and power to authorize or prevent investigations will exert strong influence over all subsequent decisions and over the general functioning of the whole council.

Overall, the version of the law adopted on February 15 slightly revises earlier drafts, which gave the minister an even stronger role.

“The minister’s – and thus the government’s – control over the inspection board is the most alarming part of the new law on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors,” Sinclair-Webb said. “This is a major tool for a government to control the High Council, and ultimately the judiciary.”

The Justice and Development Party government decided to put proposed amendments to a parliamentary vote despite strong concern expressed by the European Union’s Commissioner for Enlargement about the earlier draft proposals.

Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, said on February 17 that the amendments adopted by parliament “represent a regression of judicial independence.” The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) contends that the new law is unconstitutional and has taken the exceptional step of applying for the Constitutional Court to cancel the law in advance of the president’s approval or veto.

The government’s move to control the board comes after revelations in December 2013 of serious corruption and bribery allegations involving government ministers’ sons and the head of a bank. A week later four ministers resigned, and prosecutors opened a new investigation that included Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son.

The government has removed prosecutors leading both investigations, however. And thousands of police officers and scores of prosecutors have been demoted and rotated over the past two months. The government has dismissed the corruption allegations as part of an “international conspiracy,” involving the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers inside the judiciary and police, to overthrow the prime minister.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Announces Mission To Combat Ebola

Ebola outbreak: a peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) wears a protective mask while on duty at UN offices in the capital city of Monrovia. UN Photo/Andrey Tsarkov More>>

Syria: Life-Saving Food Aid In Jeopardy For Millions Of Syrians

18 September 2014 – The United Nations World Food Programme ( WFP ) today warned that it is running out of funds to provide food for almost 6 million Syrians receiving its life-saving assistance. More>>

UN Warns: Hundreds Of Yemeni Families In Need Of Aid

Two displaced girls stand in front of the classroom where their family has been living in Aden, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/P. Rubio Larrauri More>>

Ukraine: Victim "Tortured By Russian-Sponsored Militants"

GENEVA, September 17, 2014 – Irina Dovgan, a Ukrainian woman who made international headlines after she was publicly abused by Russian-sponsored militants in eastern Ukraine, testified today before the UN Human Rights Council. More>>

Gaza: Detention Conditions Of Palestinians Arrested By Israelis

PCHR Follows up Detention Conditions of Palestinians Arrested by Israeli Forces in Latest Offensive on the Gaza Strip More>>


UN: ‘Heinous’ Murder Of British Aid Worker By Islamic Militants

A wide view of the Security Council in session (file photo). UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras More>>

ALSO:

UN: Nuclear Programmes Of DPR Korea, Iran Remain Serious Concern

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (left) delivers his introductory statement at the Board of Governors Meeting in Vienna, Austria. Photo: IAEA/Dean Calma More>>

Libya: Closer To Brink Of Protracted Conflict And Strife

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news