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Secretary General : "Fighting impunity is at the heart of what the Council of Europe stands for"

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists - 2 November
Strasbourg 31 October 2019
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Secretary General :

On the occasion of the upcoming International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Council of Europe Secretary General, Marija Pejčinović Burić, issued the following statement :

 

"Journalists who investigate and report on corruption, abuse of power and human rights violations are still being killed in Europe today. Too often these crimes go unpunished.

 

The Safety of Journalists Platform has recorded 22 cases of impunity for murder of journalists across Council of Europe member states.

 

Each case tells a story of horror and injustice. It shows ineffective criminal investigations and prosecutions. It points at negligence, inadequate legal frameworks or corruption. It reveals flawed human rights protection, defective rule of law and mistrusted democracy.

 

Fighting impunity is at the heart of what the Council of Europe stands for. By ratifying the European Convention of Human Rights, member states have undertaken to bring criminals to justice, to conduct prompt and effective investigations. They have also agreed to ensure that journalists can exercise their profession without fear.

 

I therefore call upon member states to carry out investigations and prosecutions that bring the murderers of journalists to justice. I will work with member states, journalists and civil society to bring domestic laws and practices in compliance with obligations under the Convention."

 

Read more about the 'Impunity for murder' alerts on the Platform here.

Statement by the Platform's partners on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.


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Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.