Turkey: ICJ and others intervene in case of mass dismissal of civil servants under State of Emergency

The International Commission of Jurists, jointly with Amnesty International and the Turkey Litigation Support Project intervened today before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of a Turkish public servant, Hamit Pişkin, who was dismissed by executive decrees during the State of Emergency.

The case is key with regard to the situation in Turkey now and under the State of Emergency, because it raises significant questions regarding procedural rights in employment proceedings leading to the dismissal of an employee working with or for a State agency on grounds related to national security, including under a State of Emergency, as well as the application of the principles of legality and legal certainty and non-retroactivity as applied to national security, including in counter-terrorism.

During the State of Emergency in Turkey, that lasted two years from 2016 to 2018, almost 130,000 employees in the public sector were dismissed under emergency legislation. Their dismissal however remained in force also after the end of the State of Emergency.

In the submission, the interveners provide the European Court of Human Rights  with observations concerning:

  • the applicability of the criminal limb of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to judicial proceedings leading to dismissal of an employee of a public institution;
  • the lack of procedural guarantees in the dismissal process necessary to comply with Article 6 of the ECHR, in particular with the presumption of innocence Article 6(2), in such proceedings;
  • the application of the principles of legal certainty and non- retroactivity to such decisions (by addressing the problems arising from the application of State of Emergency decrees to events that occurred before the declaration of the State of Emergency).

The full intervention can be downloaded here: Piskin_v_Turkey-ECtHR-TPI-ICJAITLSP-2019-eng

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