Supporting the Individual Application to the Constitutional Court in Turkey (SIAC)
Total Duration of the Project
November 2013 to 30 April 2015
The total cost of the project was € 408.000,00 which was funded by the Human Rights Trust Fund.
The project was implemented by the Ankara Programme Office of the Council of Europe under the coordination of the Constitutional Court of Turkey.
Constitutional Court of Turkey (TCC), High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HCJP), Union of Turkish Bar Association (UTBA), Justice Academy (JA), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Court of Cassation (CoC), Council of State (CSt).
1. Needs assessment report
A needs assessment report identifying key challenges and difficulties of the individual application mechanism in Turkey was produced in the first six months of the project. For this purpose a group of national and international experts was established. The report included the observations, considerations and recommendations of 9 international and national consultants who participated in need assessment visits between January and April 2014. The report was shared with partner institutions in June and finalised after their comments in August. The following visits were organised for consultants for the preparation of the report:
a. Expert visit for the assessment of the CC (Ankara, 20-22 January 2014)
The visit to Ankara was organised to evaluate the functioning of the new individual application system and the needs of the CC for better implementation. Six consultants (3 national and 3 international) participated in the visit. The consultants met the President, the Deputy President, Members, Chief Reporter Judges, Reporter Judges, Assistant Reporter Judges, members of the administrative staff of the TCC.
b. Expert visit for the assessment of judges/prosecutors and lawyers (Istanbul, 17-19 February 2014)
The visit to Istanbul consisted of three days meetings with lawyers from the Istanbul Bar Association, representatives of NGOs, representatives of the Justice Commission, criminal and civil judges, prosecutors, courthouse’s registries at the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan.
c. Expert visit for the assessment of high courts, MoJ and TBB (Ankara, 9-11 April 2014)
The visit was organised to evaluate the opinions of the high court judges, HCJP, MoJ (Human Rights Department and Compensation Commission) and the TBB on the functioning of the individual application system and the needs of the CC for better implementation. 6 experts (3 national and 3 international) participated in the visit and met the judges of CoC, CSt, MCC, MAC, and the lawyers from the TBB. A debriefing session for the CC was organised at the end of the programme to sum up the finding of 3 visits.
2. Conference on “The Best Practices of Individual Complaint to the Constitutional Courts in Europe” (7 July 2014, Strasbourg).
A conference assembling presidents and judges from Constitutional Courts of Council of Europe member states was organised with the objective of discussing the increased role of these courts in preventing and remedying violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. The event mainly focused on the recent positive experience of the Turkish Constitutional Court, whose rulings were in line with the case law of the ECtHR and proved the effectiveness of the new remedy in the country.
The Conference provided a forum for the exchange of best practices of individual petition systems in Europe. Participants explored different approaches to individual complaint mechanisms in the member states; they also examined the key role of the Constitutional Courts in the domestic implementation of the Convention. The agenda of the event included panel discussions on ways to make a constitutional complaint an effective judicial remedy and also on the implementation of Constitutional Courts’ judgments.
3. Conference on “Individual Application to Constitutional Court as a System to Protect Human Rights at National Level” (27-28 November 2014, Antalya).
The high-level conference celebrated the second anniversary of the right to individual application in Turkey by drawing a parallel between the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the newly emerging case law of the Turkish Constitutional Court. The representatives of national (high courts, judicial institutions, bar associations, universities and NGOs) and international actors (DG Human Rights, ECtHR, Venice Commission, constitutional courts of Germany, Spain and Romania) discussed and assessed the functioning of the individual application system from various angles and propose solutions to practical challenges based on European experience.
4. Working Group on Preparation of Training modules for judges, prosecutors and lawyers (March-April 2015).
A working group was established to develop training curricula for legal professionals (judges, prosecutors and lawyers) and design an effective source of information and dissemination of knowledge to different categories of legal professionals about the human rights and individual application (constitutional complaint) system in Turkey. Ten national and international experts as well as the representatives of the partner institutions worked together to develop frameworks for training modules for each target group and set standards for training activities to be carried out under an EU-CoE joint project to start in 2015.
The following results were achieved with this project:
- Key challenges and difficulties faced by the CC and the legal professionals in Turkey, in the course of implementation of the individual application system were assessed and recommendations were prepared.
- The capacity of legal professionals to apply the European standards in their daily practice were enhanced, taking into account the new individual complaint mechanism.