Turkey: Joint submission to Council of Europe’s Ministers calls for release of Osman Kavala

Today, the ICJ, jointly with Human Rights Watch and the Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project presented a submission to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on the Execution of the judgment Kavala v. Turkey by the European Court of Human Rights.

The ICJ, Human Rights Watch and the Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project have reported to the Committee of Ministers that new charges against Osman Kavala lack concrete evidence and have been brought in disregard of the ECtHR’s judgment whose execution the Committee is supervising.

The three NGOs have invited the Committee of Ministers to:

  1. consider adopting the relevant recommendations formulated in their submission of 29 May 2020;
  2. take further steps to end immediately Mr. Kavala’s ongoing detention, which has now exceeded three years;
  3. recognise at its 1390th 1-3 December 2020 meeting that the continuing detention of Osman Kavala violates Article 46 of the Convention concerning the binding nature of final judgments of the ECtHR and may trigger Article 46(4) infringement proceedings against Turkey; and
  4. take the necessary general measures identified in the NGOs submission of 29 May 2020 to implement the ECtHR’s ruling concerning Article 5 and 18 of the Convention in Kavala v. Turkey and its findings in relation to human rights defenders.

In their initial submission dated 29 May 2020, the NGOs underlined that decisions taken to prolong Mr. Kavala’s detention had been guided by political expediency and there had been a concerted political effort by the Turkish authorities to prevent Mr. Kavala’s release. These bases for their action are evident in the sequence of court orders prolonging Mr. Kavala’s detention, the actions of the executive and prosecutors in relation to the judicial procedures against him, and the lack of due consideration of the ECtHR’s findings and objective deliberation as to the legality of any deprivation of liberty. The NGOs made several recommendations to the Committee of Ministers, on the issues of the general and individual measures, to ensure full implementation of the ECtHR’s judgment and Mr. Kavala’s immediate release on the ground that the Court’s judgment clearly applies to his ongoing detention.

In its judgment on Kavala v. Turkey, the EUropean Court of Human Rights, on 10 December 2019, found violations of Article 5(1) (right to liberty and security), Article 5(4) (right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights taken together with Article 5(1). The Court required the Government of Turkey to take measures to end the detention of human rights defender Osman Kavala and to secure his immediate release. The Court stated that any continuation of Mr. Kavala’s detention would prolong the violations and breach the obligation to abide by the Court’s judgment in accordance with Article 46(1) of the Convention. The judgment became final on 11 May 2020.

Despite the Court’s clear findings and mandatory order, Mr. Kavala remains in detention as of the date of this submission.


AdvocacyNon-legal submissions