Prosecutor's office removes statute of limitations on unsolved murders

According to a report in the Bugün daily on Sunday, the prosecutor's office has decided to resort to rulings by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights for the statute of limitations in suspicious murder cases.

Prosecutor's office removes statute of limitations on unsolved murders

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has announced that it will no longer stop investigating suspicious murder cases once their statute of limitations runs out, which is 20 years for suspicious deaths under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

According to a report in the Bugün daily on Sunday, the prosecutor's office has decided to resort to rulings by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for the statute of limitations in suspicious murder cases. The ECtHR's principle for statute of limitations is that amnesty or a statute of limitations cannot be applied for torture or suspicious murders. In Turkey, the statute of limitations for suspicious deaths is 20 years, according to Article 765 of the TCK, if no suspect is found or captured within that period of time.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has been investigating the death of Gen. Eşref Bitlis, who died in a suspicious plane crash on Feb. 17, 1993, and the suspicious 1993 death of former President Turgut Özal as well as other suspicious murders that took place in 1993.

An investigation into the death of Gen. Bitlis is under way and prosecutors suspect sabotage. The case into Bitlis' death was set to be dropped on Feb. 17 of this year. However, Ankara Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Şahin, who reviewed several cases from the ECtHR to see if they could be an example for Turkey, told an Ankara court that the Bitlis case should not be dropped just because of its statute of limitations ran out and that he would carry on with his investigation until the shroud of mystery surrounding it is cleared.

After the statute of limitations was not applied for the investigation into the death of Gen. Bitlis, eyes turned to the chief public prosecutor's office to see if it would do the same for other unsolved murders which were also set to be dropped in the coming days. Thereupon, the prosecutor's office decided not to drop the cases, also taking the ECtHR's rulings as an example.

Last Mod: 17 Mart 2013, 18:02
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