April 19th, 2018: monitoring of trial against Mehmet Tank in the 10th Heavy Penal Court Gaziantep, Turkey

Gepubliceerd op: 24 april 2018 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Turkije | Comments Off on April 19th, 2018: monitoring of trial against Mehmet Tank in the 10th Heavy Penal Court Gaziantep, Turkey

 

 

On behalf of the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey, Judges for Judges sent two observers to the trial of Mehmet Tank, former Vice President of the International Association of Judges (IAJ) and board member of dissolved magistrates association Yarsav.

The (third session) of the trial against Mehmet Tank (MT) started at about 14.30 h. Tank and his lawyer were connected by video from the prison in Erzurum.

Lees verder…;

Interview with our boardmember Esther de Rooij

Gepubliceerd op: 24 april 2018 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Oekraïne | Comments Off on Interview with our boardmember Esther de Rooij

Interview with our boardmember Esther de Rooij in Law & Business (Закон і Бізнес), Ukraine’s weekly legal newspaper:

‘The most occurring situations the Foundation deals with are dismissal and detainment of judges’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Esther de ROOIJ, an Amsterdam judge and a member of the Management Board at Foundation Judges for Judges, was among the attendees at the Abuse of Rights in Tax Legal Relationships International Conference in Kyiv. Law & Business has taken this opportunity to ask Ms de ROOIJ to tell about the activities of the Foundation, which information may be of help to the Ukrainian servants of Themis who have been, or will be, experiencing lustration waves.

‘The judges who ask for our support come from different countries, from Ukraine to Venezuela’

Read more (in Ukrainian)

Read more (in English)

Proceswaarneming zitting tegen Mehmet Tank

Gepubliceerd op: 24 april 2018 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Turkije | Comments Off on Proceswaarneming zitting tegen Mehmet Tank

 

 

Persbericht

Turkse rechter veroordeeld tot gevangenisstraf van acht jaar en vier maanden wegens “deelneming aan een gewapende terroristische organisatie”.

Mehmet Tank, tot de coup van 15 juli 2016 rechter in Gaziantep, Turkije, is donderdag 19 april door de 10e kamer voor zware misdrijven van de rechtbank te Gaziantep veroordeeld tot een gevangenisstraf van acht jaar en vier maanden, omdat hij deelgenomen zou hebben aan “Fetö” (afkorting voor de officiële aanduiding: “terreurorganisatie van Fethullah Gülen”).

Tank is een van de 4279 rechters en officieren van justitie die na de coup van 15 juli 2016 zijn ontslagen. Ruim 2500 zijn gevangen gezet. Onlangs zijn ongeveer 4000 nieuwe rechters benoemd.

Omdat “Fetö” als een gewapende terroristische organisatie wordt aangemerkt is het enkele lidmaatschap voldoende voor aanmerkelijke gevangenisstraffen. Het gestelde bewijs in deze zaken bestaat veelal uit – deels anonieme – getuigenverklaringen, het gebruik van ByLock, een afgeschermd communicatie app en/of het onderhouden van “geheime” internationale contacten. Tank was bij zijn arrestatie in het bezit van $ 17 en zou informatie over rechters vertrouwelijk aan een internationale organisatie hebben doorgespeeld. Tank betwist zijn deelname aan “Fetö” en stelt actief kritisch te staan tegenover Gülen.

Mehmet Tank was tevens vice-president van Yarsav, de inmiddels verboden Turkse rechtersvereniging, alsmede actief binnen de IAJ, de International Association of Judges.

Mehmet Tank heeft 15 dagen om in beroep te gaan.

Twee Nederlandse waarnemers, oud-rechter Peter Ingelse en de Amsterdamse kantonrechter Evert van der Molen, waren voor het platform van Europese rechter organisaties (AEAJ, EAJ, Medel en Rechters voor rechters) aanwezig bij het proces. Tot hun verbazing (en ontzetting van de aanwezige echtgenote en schoonbroer) werd na de zitting onmiddellijk mondeling uitspraak gedaan, zonder dat enige toelichting over het bewijs of de strafmaat werd gegeven.

Statement on the eve of the EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting in Varna

Gepubliceerd op: 23 maart 2018 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Turkije | Comments Off on Statement on the eve of the EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting in Varna


 

Europe, 22st March 2018

Everyone in Europe is aware that 150 journalists are detained in Turkey and that the majority of them have no idea what the indictments are. All judgments issued to date fundamentally contradict the rights and principles which form the (common) basis of European law.

Additionally, over 25% of all Turkish judges and prosecutors, namely more than 3,000, are also facing pre-trial detention.

First of all, this shocking reality signifies that a large number of innocent persons are illegally prosecuted and this situation must not be ignored as individuals and the country as a whole will suffer from the adverse effects.

Secondly, the dismissal of 4279 judges and prosecutors (out of a total of approximately 12,000 throughout Turkey) creates huge and damaging losses within the offices of the Turkish judiciary and prosecutors.

The existence of a highly qualified and independent judiciary within a country is one of the corner stones of a democracy under the rule of law.

It is therefore of utmost importance that Europe makes all possible efforts to persuade Turkey to remedy this unacceptable situation and it is without doubt a major concern for both Turkey and Europe.

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey is composed of four major European associations of judges:
1. The Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ)
2. The European Association of Judges
3. Judges for Judges
4. The “Magistrats Europeens pour la Democratie et les Libertes”  (MEDEL)

Lees verder…;

Uitnodiging mini-event en Camera Justitia Night op 29 maart 2018

Gepubliceerd op: 13 maart 2018 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen | Comments Off on Uitnodiging mini-event en Camera Justitia Night op 29 maart 2018

Vrienden van Rechters voor Rechters,

Donderdag 8 maart 2018 is de kaartverkoop begonnen voor het jaarlijkse Movies that Matter Festival. Dit festival gaat op vrijdag 23 maart van start in Filmhuis Den Haag en Theater aan het Spui en duurt tot en met zaterdag 31 maart 2018.

Er is ook dit jaar een speciale Camera Justitia programmering. Er staan acht indrukwekkende films (zowel fictie als documentaire) geprogrammeerd, geflankeerd door sessies over juridische dilemma’s, waarheidsvinding, internationaal recht en de strijd tegen straffeloosheid. Zo vertelt Kathryne Bomberger, Directeur-generaal van de Internationale Commissie voor Vermiste Personen, bijvoorbeeld tijdens de Camera Justitia Masterclass op donderdagmiddag 29 maart 2018, aan de hand van filmfragmenten over haar werk. Op donderdagavond 29 maart 2018 vanaf 20:00 uur kent een internationale jury tijdens de feestelijke Camera Justitia Night de Gouden Vlinder Camera Justitia Award en € 5.000 toe aan de regisseur van de winnende film. Na de uitreiking volgt er een vertoning van de genomineerde documentaire Truth Detectives van Anja Reiss. Op de website van de regisseur wordt de inhoud van de documentaire als volgt omschreven:

All around the world, human rights activists, journalists and lawyers collect evidence of human rights violations – with the help of victims. Using mobile devices to film and photograph their experiences, they become digital witnesses. Amateur videos of bombs exploding, people being abused or even shot dead are distributed almost in real time via social media. Digital investigators use various forensic methods, from internet tracking to DNA analysis, to analyse and verify this deluge of images, supporting them with other evidence and scientific expertise. These criminological investigations have only one purpose: to bring to justice those who violate human rights. We meet investigative teams who use these cutting-edge technologies to document their research into the war in Ukraine, the destruction of Mali’s cultural heritage, the search for mass graves in Colombia and the “Black Friday” bomb attacks in Gaza. We witness the entire investigative procedure, from training and visiting the scene of the crime, securing and analysing forensic evidence, to presenting their evidence in court.

Wij zouden het leuk vinden u die avond van tevoren  – vanaf 18:45 uur waarschijnlijk – te ontmoeten. Wij hebben de documentaire-maakster Anja Reiss bereid gevonden om voor ons het maakproces van haar film toe te lichten. Dat maakt ongetwijfeld dat u de documentaire met andere ogen zult kunnen bekijken.

De kosten (€ 15,- voor filmkaartje, inleiding en een drankje) zijn voor eigen rekening, wij vertrouwen op uw begrip hiervoor. Uiteraard is het mogelijk om bovenop de kosten voor het filmkaartje een extra bedrag over te maken als gulle gift zodat de Stichting Rechters voor Rechters activiteiten kan blijven ontplooien ten behoeve van collega’s in nood.

Over het precieze programma wordt u – na aanmelding – nog geïnformeerd. Maar in verband met de verdere organisatie is het van belang dat wij zo snel mogelijk weten hoe groot de groep ongeveer zal zijn. Als u geïnteresseerd bent, kunt u dat eenvoudig laten weten door uiterlijk 18 maart 2018 een e-mail te sturen aan info@rechtersvoorrechters.nl en in de titel te vermelden “MtM 2018 ja, ik kan & wil” en te vermelden hoeveel kaartjes u wilt hebben.

Joint oral statement on the situation of lawyers and judges in Turkey

Gepubliceerd op: 13 maart 2018 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Turkije | Comments Off on Joint oral statement on the situation of lawyers and judges in Turkey

Judges for Judges, together with the IBA Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), The Law Society of England and Wales, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales (BHRC), Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) wrote a joint statement to highlight the ongoing challenges faced by the legal profession in Turkey.

The joint statement was addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It was read before the Special Rapporteur on 2nd March 2018 during a side event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and widely circulated at the Human Rights Council.

In the joint statement, organisations raise concerns over the widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment in the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey, the lack of effective investigations, and the on-going reports of torture. Organisations also share their concern over the widespread and systematic arbitrary arrest and detention of judges and lawyers in Turkey.

Read the full statement here.

Bulgaria – new law restriction for judges and their organisations?

Gepubliceerd op: 26 juli 2017 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Bulgarije | Comments Off on Bulgaria – new law restriction for judges and their organisations?

On July 4 2017 five Members of the Parliament (three of them from the ruling party, including the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Legal Affairs) filed a legislative draft for amendments of the Judiciary System Act. This draft prescribes a.o.:

  • an obligation for each judge and prosecutor to declare before the Supreme Judicial Council whether he or she is a member of a magistrates’ organisation;
  • an obligation for professional organisations of judges and prosecutors to finance their activities exclusively from their members’ contribution fees or from donations made by their own members;
  • a prohibition for judges and prosecutors to receive any fees for participation as lecturers or experts if the activities are financed by “a foreign country or person”.

According to the explanatory notes, the aim of the restrictions and prohibitions is to preclude “foreign influences” and dependencies in the judiciary.

These amendments evoked strong protests, saying that these amendments will hinder the free association of magistrates in professional organisations and will threaten the functioning of these organisations. For more details, see:

In reaction to the protests, the Prime Minister announced that the Members of Parliament from his party will propose that financing from the European Union will be allowed to magistrates organizations.

The amendments will be subjected to further debate and “second reading” in Parliament, which – as it appears under (inter)national pressure – will now be scheduled after (instead of before) the summer recess.

Judges for Judges will follow the developments and keep you informed.

Disciplinary proceedings against Bulgarian judge Miroslava Todorova: implications for judicial independence

Gepubliceerd op: 24 juli 2017 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Bulgarije, CIJL_ICJ | Comments Off on Disciplinary proceedings against Bulgarian judge Miroslava Todorova: implications for judicial independence

In a report published today, Judges for Judges and the ICJ analyze disciplinary proceedings against Bulgarian Judge Miroslava Todorova in relation to international standards on judicial independence and accountability.

On 12 July 2012, the Supreme Judicial Council of Bulgaria dismissed Judge Miroslava Todorova, at that time a judge of the Sofia City Court and Chairperson of the Bulgarian Judges Association, on the grounds that she was responsible for delays in a number of cases. Subsequently, Judges for Judges and the ICJ followed the disciplinary proceedings against Todorova and sent trial observers to Sofia on two occasions, in May 2013 and November 2014.

In their findings, the ICJ and Judges for Judges do not address whether, and if so which, disciplinary sanctions may have been appropriate in this case. They note, however, that the disciplinary proceedings concerned delays, constituting judicial misconduct, in a context where according to many internal and external observers the workload between the courts is divided unevenly and may be very high for some.

The two organizations also note that, as the second three-judge panel pointed out, the overall organization of the workflow was never properly considered in considering and reaching a determination in the disciplinary case. With the quashing of the second three-judge panel’s decision, likewise other relevant circumstances were not taken into account. Furthermore, the report finds, disciplinary practice in Bulgaria is deficient in respect of its lack of predictability and consistency, and doubts expressed by many observers as to the independence of the Judicial Service Council muddy the waters further. The 2013 amendments to the legal framework only partially served to remedy the disciplinary practice’s deficiencies. In particular, a full right of defence that includes the opportunity for the defendant to address all arguments and evidence remained wanting at the time of the Todorova proceedings.

In the report, the ICJ and Judges for Judges also note the animosity towards Todorova from certain quarters in the Executive and SJC for her activities as the chair of the BJA in defence of judicial independence. Under the circumstances, there is an appearance that the disciplinary proceedings against Todorova were instituted and pursued selectively, and the system of the disciplinary proceedings in Bulgaria does not provide sufficient safeguards to dispel this appearance.
The disciplinary proceedings against Todorova demonstrate why it is crucial that accountability mechanisms be independent not only in theory but in practice, and for such mechanisms to be in some way themselves publicly accountable.

Bulgaria-The case of Todorova-Publications-Reports-Trial observation reports (full report, in PDF).

For additional background, see:

ICJ Practitioners Guide no 13, Judicial Accountability (2016, in PDF)

and more generally:

ICJ Practitioners Guide No 1, International Principles on the Independence and Accountability of Judges, Lawyers and Prosecutors (2007, in PDF)

Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey: “Independence of the judiciary is abolished.”

Gepubliceerd op: 19 juli 2017 in: Activiteiten, Algemeen, Turkije | Comments Off on Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey: “Independence of the judiciary is abolished.”

 

 

The assessment of the status of the justice system in Turkey clearly proves that the independence of the judiciary is abolished. The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey refers to its previous declarations and to the attached summary on the developments and their results. It is urgent to return to the rule of law and to bring back to the Turkish people the fundamental rights of which they had been deprived.

The Platform urges

I.) the Turkish authorities
• to end the pressure which is directly exercised on Turkish judges and prosecutors, who are in charge of the procedures subsequent to the terrible attempt of the coup d´etat, and indirectly by influencing the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors;
• to reestablish the procedural rules, which are necessary to guarantee a fair procedure;
• to make the observation of the court hearings by international observers possible;
• to guarantee that the European Prison Rules (CM Rec(2006)2) are obeyed in all detention centres and to hold accountable those who have violated them;
• release the unduly detained judges and prosecutors and to return the unduly seized assets of these persons;
• to annul the dissolution of the only independent judges association: YARSAV;

II.) the Council of Europe and the European Union
• to convince the Turkish authorities to fulfill the above mentioned requirements, which are based on common European values;
• to carefully follow the developments regarding the Turkish justice system;
• to establish mechanism and support initiatives which make international trial-observation missions possible.

Edith Zeller m.p.
President of the Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ)

José Igreja Matos m.p.
President of the European Association of Judges (EAJ)

Tamara Trotman m.p.
President of Judges for Judges

Gualtiero Michelini m.p.
President of Magistrats Européens pour la Democratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

Chair Judges for Judges interviewed for Bulgarian newspaper

Gepubliceerd op: 15 maart 2017 in: Activiteiten, Bulgarije | Comments Off on Chair Judges for Judges interviewed for Bulgarian newspaper

Interview CapitalDuring the last weekend of November 2016 the Bulgarian Judges Association organised a conference within the framework of the Project ‘Creating a favourable environment for an independent judiciary in Bulgaria’.

Our chair was invited as a guest speaker and was interviewed afterwards by journalist Mirela Veselinova of the newspaper Capital.

This interview was published on the website of Capital (click here) and on the Legalworld website (click here).

The final conference will be held on March 17th 2017 in Sofia.

Problems in Bulgaria are not dissimilar to those in Swaziland

Tamara Trotman is a judge at the Appellate Court of The Hague in the Netherlands and Chair of the Dutch-based foundation Judges for Judges.
At the end of November, Tamara Trotman visited Bulgaria as a guest speaker at a conference organised by the Bulgarian Judges Association within the framework of the Project ‘Creating a favourable environment for an independent judiciary in Bulgaria’, implemented in co-operation with the Dutch Association for the Judiciary (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Rechtspraak, NvvR). In her presentation, dedicated to judicial solidarity, Justice Trotman spoke about several cases of pressure being put on judges in different countries in Europe which have come to the attention of the foundation Judges for Judges.

Read more: click here to read the full interview and click here to read the additional text (both in English, translation: Boryana DESHEVA).