On 21 February 2020, thirty bar associations called for the resignation of the members of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) over its systematic intervention into the judicial process and (re)detention of individuals even before or just after their release. The latest instance was replacing three judges and initiating an investigation against them who acquitted Osman Kavala and others in conformity with the judgment of European Court of Human Rights.
Since 2014, the Turkish Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has been intervening into the judicial process through replacing judges and subjecting them to investigations who deliver judgments which displease the Government. In our report titled ‘EXTRADITION TO TURKEY: ONE-WAY TICKET TO TORTURE AND UNFAIR TRIAL‘ we had compiled unlawful practices similar to (re)detention of Osman Kavala.
‘The fact that HSK took such an action, particularly in the aftermath of the acquittal verdict – as we have seen previously in other cases – despite the open provision of the Constitution, clearly exerts pressure on court judges rendering similar duties and constitutes an explicit violation of the Constitution. Furthermore, the impression that such a violation took place under the manipulation of the political government is much graver.
To be able to talk about a state governed by the rule of law; we would like to emphasize, once again, the need to respect the right to a fair trial, security of tenure of judges and prosecutors, natural judge principle, presumption of innocence, protection of freedoms of thought and expression through the judiciary, as well as compliance with the universal norms of law and international conventions signed by Turkey.
In this mainframe, if HSK has indeed granted an authorization for investigation into these judges solely for the [acquittal] judgement they handed down, then we hereby call on the relevant HSK members to resign and we would like our call to go down in history.’ said in the statement.
This latest decision of HSK also negates its regulation dated january 2020 that pledged to promote judges and prosecutors who pay regard to the case law of the ECtHR.
On 21 January 2020, Secretary General of the Council of Europe also addressed a letter to the Minister of Justice of Turkey and shared her concern about this practice and particularly punishing judges who comply with the case law of ECtHR.