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Turkish Constitutional Court to start individual applications
Turkish Constitutional Court to start individual applications

It was expected that the number of cases against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will drop significantly

World Bulletin/News Desk

Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç has said the top court has made the necessary preparations to start accepting individual petitions for complaints of human rights violations.

He emphasized that Turkey's aim is to achieve full integration with universal values in its judicial system with the introduction of the individual right to petition the top court for the violation of fundamental human rights.

The Constitutional Court will start accepting petitions from individual plaintiffs starting on Monday as part of changes made to the constitution after a referendum held on Sept. 12, 2010. It was expected that the number of cases against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will drop significantly.

Kılıç said complaints over the length of trials or pre-detention period may be brought to the Constitutional Court after remedies sought at the lower and appellate court had been exhausted.

“Should an application filed for terminating pre-detention period be rejected, too, by a higher court after a court of first instance, this shall be the final ruling and an individual application to our court shall be allowed. If accepted, the Constitutional Court will make a decision on application,” he explained.

Highlighting that rights and liberties will be viewed from a broader window, President Kılıç stated that he hoped the bad track record of Turkey in the ECtHR will improve with the exercise of a personal appeal to the top court.

“From now on, we expect a decrease in the number of ECtHR applications as we will switch to a broader understanding of rights and freedoms. At the Constitutional Court, we prefer a broader window in case our Constitution contradicts with the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR],” he explained.

The ECHR, drafted in 1950, places Turkey under the jurisdiction of the ECtHR. In 1987, Turkey accepted the right of individuals to file applications with the ECtHR and in 1990 recognized the compulsory jurisdiction of the court. The convention is part of the Turkish Constitution, according to revised Article 90 of the Constitution. But in practice this did not limit the surge in the numbers of cases in Strasbourg.

Kılıç said judges ought to hold international law above national law when there is a conflict, but this was rarely exercised in the past. “We will review these cases if they were brought to our attention from now on,” he said.

Acknowledging they have been working on preparations at a rapid pace since the recognition of the right to individual application with the 2010 referendum, Kılıç told reporters that they have resolved staff and physical shortcomings. He added that the National Judicial Network Communications System (UYAP) has been upgraded to accommodate online applications.

Two chambers have been set up under the Constitutional Court for the review of individual applications and the number of rapporteurs was raised to 50, in compliance with advice from the ECtHR. The court will add 10 more rapporteurs to its staff, Kılıç revealed. Applications will be reviewed by two-person commissions in terms of “eligibility.”

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Press agenda on February 19
Press agenda on February 19

Here are the main topics World Bulletin’s English Desk plans to cover Sunday Feb. 19, 2017 (coverage may change depending on developing/breaking stories): BAGHDAD Iraqi forces launch an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul's west bank, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city. 700 words 0530 GMT by Ammar Karim and Jean-Marc Mojon US-militant-Egypt-prison,2ndlead WASHINGTON The sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian-born cleric linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, dies at 78 in a US prison facility after a long battle with diabetes and coronary artery disease. 650 words moved by Maggy Donaldson. File Picture Ukraine-Russia-conflict,WRAP MOSCOW A truce between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine will come into force Monday, Moscow and Kiev say, though some separatists are already labelling it unfeasible. 500 words moved by Anais Llobet Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,WRAP BERLIN Hungary's "On Body and Soul", a love story set in a slaughterhouse, wins the Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin film festival, Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year. 700 words moved by Deborah Cole. Picture. Video Also moved: Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-prizes,FACTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,POINTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-winners,CHRONO -- ASIA -- NKorea-Malaysia-diplomacy-community,SCENE KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia's only North Korean restaurant promises a glimpse into life in the reclusive state but it has been shuttered since news broke of the assassination of leader Kim Jong-Un's brother, with security guards turning customers away. 650 words 0600 GMT by Elizabeth Law. Picture. Video -- AMERICAS -- US-politics-Trump-Melania,lead MELBOURNE, Florida First Lady Melania Trump, usually a demure and soft-spoken presence at her husband's side, breaks with form, reciting the Lord's Prayer before issuing a scathing rebuke of his enemies and her critics at a campaign-style stop in Florida. 600 words moved by Michael Mathes with Stephanie Griffith in Washington. Picture. Video. US-media-politics-technology WASHINGTON As President Donald Trump warns of a crackdown on US government leaks to media, interest is growing in technology tools that allow sources to share information anonymously. 750 words moved by Rob Lever Venezuela-politics-opposition-US CARACAS Venezuela and the United States lock horns again over political prisoners held by Caracas, including over the detention of a jailed opposition leader whose supporters took to the streets of the capital to demand his release.