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January 29, 2010

Turkey Is Worst Human Rights Violator

Turkey Is Worst Human Rights Violator, ECtHR says

29 January 2010
Today's Zaman

In an annual report released on Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the top judicial body to rule on human rights violations in Europe, found that Turkey is by far the worst violator of human rights among the 47 signatory states of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In statistical data on violation judgments by country for the period between 1959 and 2009, Turkey topped the chart with 18.81 percent of all violation judgments, followed by Italy with 16.57 percent and Russia 6.34 percent. Within this timeframe, 2,295 judgments were entered for Turkey and only in 46 cases did the court find no violations. The most common human rights violation committed by Turkey was the denial of the right to a fair trial. Italy scored second with 2,021 judgments against it.

In 2009 alone, Turkey again topped the list in terms of violations of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. In a tally of the number of judgments entered for Turkey, 356 cases out of a total of 1,625 put the country in the worst violator class. In only nine cases out of the 356 did the court find there was no violation, while stating that at least one violation occurred in the rest of the cases. Russia followed Turkey in 2009 with 210 judgments against it.

In terms of pending applications as of Jan. 1, 2010, the report found that Turkey has the second highest number of complaints lodged against it with 11 percent of the total 119,300 applications. Russia led the pack in this category with 28.1 percent of the applications. In its report, the court described Turkey as a “high case-count state.”

More than half of the judgments in which the court found a violation included a violation of Article 6 of the convention, the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time. In recent rulings, the court found that in most cases Turkey was in breach of this article and noted lengthy trials as a violation the convention. There have been excessive delays, in violation of the "reasonable time" requirement, in civil and criminal proceedings taking place in Turkish courts.

Furthermore, 62 percent of Turkey’s violations concerned Article 6 which is right to a fair trial and lengthy proceedings. This article was often raised as the reason for rulings against Turkey. The data shows that in 2009, the court found Turkey guilty of violating fair trial principle in 126 cases out of the total 356 cases. The second most common violation Turkey committed was in relation to the length of legal proceedings with 95 cases settled in 2009.

The report unequivocally finds that in recent years there has an upward trend for Turkey in terms of applications allocated to signatıry states. In 2009, Turkey had 4,474 applications in the court while the number was 3,706 for 2008 and 2,828 for 2007. Only Russia, Romania, Poland and Ukraine surpassed Turkey in recent years in terms of applications to the court.

Turkey seems to be the country adding to the court's caseload the second most. Out of a total caseload of 132,115, 4,725 cases regarding Turkey are waiting in the Committee of Judges, 6,207 are awaiting first examination while 1,896 cases are communicated, meaning that they were referred to Turkey for ??implementation??? observations.

Since 1959, the court has found 16,106 applications lodged against Turkey to be inadmissible or has struck them out.

The European Convention on Human Rights drafted in 1950 places Turkey under the jurisdiction of the ECtHR. In 1987, Turkey accepted the right of individuals to make applications to the ECtHR to apply individually to the ECtHR and in 1990 recognized the compulsory jurisdiction of the court. However Turkey has still not ratified some of the protocols of the Convention despite signed them.

In October 2009 the European Commission on Enlargement to the European Union attested that Turkey had made some progress on the observance of international human rights law. However, the implementation of some ECtHR judgments requiring legislative amendments has been an outstanding issue for several years. Further efforts are needed to strengthening the institutional framework on human rights, in particular with regards to the establishment of an independent human rights institution and of an ombudsman.