Execution of Turkish Ministers
The ICJ learnt with profound concern the sentences of death passed by the Turkish High Court of Yassiada on September 15th, 1961, upon certain accused who had appeared before the Court. Three Ministers were eventually executed.
The Commission had appointed Observers to the trials, namely Mr. Vivian Bose, a former judge of the High Court of India and now President of the Commission; Me Raymond Nicolet, an eminent Swiss lawyer of Geneva; and M. René Degouy, Président de Chambre à la Cour d’Appel de Paris.
The Commission had some expectation that the accused after sentence would receive leniency.
Immediately upon learning of the sentences the Secretary-General of the Commission, Sir Leslie Munro, forwarded on September 16th, 1961, the following telegram to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Turkey:
“ON BEHALF OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS AND WITH ALL POSSIBLE STRENGTH I URGE UPON YOUR GOVERNMENT THAT CLEMENCY BE EXTENDED TO THOSE SENTENCED TO DEATH AT YASSIADA PARTICULARLY BECAUSE CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERTS AT THE TRIALS WERE IN CONFLICT ON THE VALIDITY OF THE CHARGES STOP WITH THE ASSURANCES OF MY HIGHEST RESPECT – SIR LESLIE MUNRO SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS GENEVA”
Finally the Commission profoundly regrets that sentences of death were nevertheless executed against three former Ministers of the Turkish Government, namely, Mr. Adnan Menderes, former Prime Minister of Turkey; Mr. Fatin Rustu Zorlu, former Foreign Minister and Mr. Hasan Polatkan, former Finance Minister.
The extreme penalty has been exacted for what appear to have been political offences.