Turkey : ICJ and IHOP host global online conference on the state of access to justice in Turkey

Today, the ICJ and the Human Rights Joint Platform (IHOP) are hosting an online conference to take stock of the current situation of access to justice and the rule of law in Turkey and discuss compliance with international standards and the Turkish Constitution.

The online conference features international and European experts and will address the shortcomings in accessing justice in the country both in terms of the capacity of the justice system to ensure the respect and protection of human rights and of the independence and effectiveness of the justice system itself.

The conference will take stock of the state of access to justice in Turkey after four years of extraordinary and worrisome events for the Rule of Law and human rights in the country. During this period, Turkey has experienced a severe deterioration in the rule of law. The state of emergency, in force between 2016 and 2018, has led to the cleansing of the judiciary and restricted the capacity of lawyers and civil society to act, and increasingly dramatically the arrests and trials of some of their members under spurious charges of terrorism, offences against the State, insult to the nation or its President, and hate speech crimes.

Many of the measures undertaken under the state of emergency included mass dismissal of public servants, judges and prosecutors without ensuring due process guarantees and the degradation of the justice system, depriving the judiciary of essential guarantees to ensure its independence from the political authorities.

The conference will address how these developments impacted the capacity of people in Turkey, and in particular those belonging to marginalised groups, to access justice for their human rights, and what should be done to ensure that such access exists and is effective.

As a result of the conference, a draft statement on the state of access to justice in Turkey will be issued to provide Turkish authorities with recommendations on how to ensure effective and independent access to justice for human rights protection.