The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Kavala v. Turkey on 10 December 2019. This case relates to the detention of the applicant in violation of Articles 5 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Commissioner bases her observations on her report on Turkey published in February 2020, in which she examines human rights issues relating to the Turkish justice system and the situation of human rights defenders in the country. The observations are also based on her continuous monitoring of the human rights situation in Turkey, including of the detention of Osman Kavala as an emblematic case affecting human rights defenders in Turkey in general. In her submission, the Commissioner makes observations regarding both individual and general measures necessary in order to execute the Court’s judgment.
Regarding individual measures, the Commissioner examines the developments concerning the detention of the applicant since the judgment of the Court, including his acquittal in the trial for which he was in detention at the time of the judgment, and his subsequent re-arrest and re-detention under two further criminal proceedings. Having regard to the nature of these new charges, as well as the general legal and political context surrounding the applicant’s ongoing detention, the Commissioner comes to the conclusion that the present detention of the applicant and the criminal proceedings against him constitute a seamless extension and continuation of the violations found by the Court. She therefore underscores that the execution of this judgment would require the applicant’s immediate and unconditional release from detention, as well as the discontinuation of the criminal proceedings against him.
As regards general measures Turkey would need to take in order to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future, the Commissioner refers to her extensive work on Turkey examining the serious problems affecting the Turkish justice system, notably due to a marked deterioration of the independence of the judiciary in recent years. She also draws attention to an increasingly challenging and hostile atmosphere faced by human rights defenders in the country. The Commissioner argues that Turkey needs to take a large number of fundamental and far-reaching general measures, including re-establishing and reinforcing constitutional guarantees regarding the independence of the judiciary, overhauling criminal legislation, ensuring respect for elementary fair-trial guarantees by the judiciary, and addressing the serious problems faced by human rights defenders.