3 July 2013
The Constitutional Court has accepted the individual applications of four complainants over lengthy pre-trial detentions for the first time, also promising to act in harmony with rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Turkey’s top court ruled that the Constitution had been breached in the cases of four out of the six applicants, setting a legal precedent.
Constitutional Court President Hažim Kżlżē said they would seek to be consistent with the rulings of the ECHR from now on. “We have fully accepted the ECHR’s criteria,” he said.
“According to our principal decision, it’s not obligatory [from now on] for the conditions of verdicts to be given in order to make individual applications. We have fully accepted the ECHR criteria. Our Constitution will act in line with ECHR verdicts about the long detention periods and proceedings,” Kżlżē told daily Hürriyet yesterday.
He stressed that thanks to a court resolution made last week, the completion of trials will henceforth not be required for individual applications over lengthy detentions.
Long detention periods have been one of the main areas of criticism in Turkey’s EU progress reports over the years. The country was already condemned for such cases by the ECHR, which has received hundreds of applications on the issue.
Three new criteria of Turkey’s top court
According to the new regulations, in long detention cases, the ECHR’s verdicts will take precedence over Turkey’s internal practices. ECHR criteria and practices will be the bases of long proceeding cases.
The local court’s final verdict will not be awaited for individual applications, and the verdict of the High Court of Appeals regarding the case will not be obligatory.
The period of imprisonment without verdict pending trial is a maximum two years in Turkey, but the Constitutional Court will search for concrete proof after a year to keep the suspect imprisoned as the court considers the case.
Individual application to the Constitutional Court was introduced into the Turkish legal system through amendments in 2010. Sept. 23, 2012 was determined as the first day such applications could be received.
Article 148 of the Constitution stipulates that anyone who thinks that his or her constitutional rights set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights have been infringed by a public authority will have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court after exhausting other administrative and judicial remedies.