July 20, 2016
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is extremely concerned by the sudden dismissal of more than 2,500 judges and prosecutors in Turkey, following an attempted coup d’état in the country on Friday 15 July. The IBAHRI calls on Turkey to respect its international obligations, avoid undue mass targeting of state institutions such as the judiciary, and ensure that a transparent investigation is carried out to identify those responsible for instigating the military coup.
Following the attempt to overthrow the government, the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) reportedly held an emergency meeting on Saturday 16 July, during which it made the decision to remove more than 2,500 judges just a few hours after the coup attempt had failed. Subsequently, several of these judges, including members of the HYSK, were reportedly arrested and charged under offences listed in the 15th section of the Turkish Penal Code: ‘Offenses against Constitutional Order and Operation of Constitutional Rules.’
IBAHRI Co-Chair, Ambassador (ret) Hans Corell stated, ‘The speed with which the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors was able to identify such a large number of judges supposedly linked to the coup attempt is extremely concerning to the IBAHRI. The HYSK should refrain from suspending and arresting judges until an independent and transparent investigation has taken place to establish whether there is a concrete link between individual judges and those responsible for the failed putsch. This sort of blanket dismissal is in direct conflict with Turkey’s Constitutional protection for judges’ security of tenure and against unfair dismissal. It also disregards international legal standards, such as the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, which provide that all decisions related to judicial suspension and dismissal should be the result of a fair hearing and be subject to an independent review.’