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[NEWS] CoE Assembly calls on Turkey to end the collective punishment of the judges


PACE has pointed to “serious problems” with the rule of law in many Council of Europe member states – singling out five countries where it says some recent developments have “put at risk” respect for the rule of law.

Based on a report by Bernd Fabritius (Germany, EPP/CD), the Assembly said that it had thoroughly examined the situation in Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Turkey.

It pointed to problems in particular with “independence of the judiciary and the principle of the separation of powers” in these countries, mainly due to attempts to politicise judicial councils and courts, dismiss judges and prosecutors (or try to) and limit the legislative power of parliaments, as well as the effects of corruption. The Assembly addressed a series of recommendations to each.

Recalling its Resolution 2156 (2017) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey, the Assembly reiterates its deepest concern about the scope of measures taken under the state of emergency and the amendments to the Constitution adopted by the Grand National Assembly on 21 January 2017 and approved in the national referendum of 16 April 2017. It therefore calls on the Turkish authorities to:

1. lift the state of emergency as soon as possible;
2. reconsider the constitutional amendments approved in the referendum of 16 April 2017, in line with Opinion No. 875/2017 of the Venice Commission, so that there will again be a functioning separation of powers, especially with respect to the parliament and the Constitutional Court;
3. make sure that all emergency decree laws passed by the government under the state of emergency are approved by the parliament and that their constitutionality can be verified by the Constitutional Court;
4. put an immediate end to the collective dismissal of judges and prosecutors, as well as other civil servants, through decree laws and ensure that those who have already been dismissed will have their cases reviewed by a “tribunal” fulfilling the requirements of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
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