Doc. 9327

21 January 2002

Non-compliance of Turkey with European Court of Human Rights judgements

Written Question No. 402

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 780th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (16 January 2002)

I.       Written Question No. 402 by Mr Clerfayt (Doc. 9272)

      Considering that since 1996 the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly found Turkey to be in violation of the obligation to bring an arrested person promptly before a judge (Article 5 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights);

      Noting that Turkey has not complied with these judgments, since Turkish law still permits the detention of apprehended persons in ordinary circumstances for 7 days, without automatically bringing them before a judge;

      Stressing that Turkey is the only country which, despite numerous European Court judgments and repeated demands the Committee of Ministers, continues to violate Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, a provision of fundamental importance for the rule of law and protection against arbitrary conduct,

      Mr Clerfayt,

Asks the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers,

      What urgent action the Committee intends to take to ensure that Turkey changes its relevant legislation without further delay so as comply with the European Court’s judgments.

II.       Reply from the Committee of Ministers

The Committee of Ministers refers at the outset to the oral reply given to the Honorable Parliamentarian by its Chairman at the Assembly's September 2001 part﷓Session. It recalls in particular that it has been closely following, pursuant to its responsibilities under Article 46 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the issue of the excessive length of police custody in Turkey since the first judgments of the European Court highlighted this problem. In this context it has regularly followed the process of constitutional and legislative reforms undertaken by Turkey to remedy the problem.

The Committee has been informed of the recent constitutional amendments and of their entry into force on 17 October 2001. It has noted with satisfaction that one of the amendments limits to 4 days the maximum length of police custody before presenting a detainee before a judge. According to the information available to the Committee, this new constitutional provision has immediately overruled the existing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and is already being applied by all police and prosecution authorities. A number of domestic court decisions have confirmed the direct applicability of the new constitutional provisions and their precedence over the existing legislative provisions. The Committee has also been informed that the latter provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure will shortly be brought into line with the new constitutional provisions.

At its last Human Rights meeting in December 2001, the Committee considered that these general measures comply with the European Court's judgments as regards the excessive length of police custody in that they constitute adequate safeguards against new similar violations of Article 5, paragraph 3, of the Convention. Given that all other questions relating to the execution of these judgments have been resolved, the Committee has decided to resume consideration of the relevant cases at one of its forthcoming meetings with a view to adopting final resolutions, closing their examination.”