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Turkey – Legislation on judiciary - Statement by the President of the Venice Commission

14/01/2014

Council of Europe, Strasbourg - I was asked about the position of the Venice Commission on the proposed amendments to the Turkish legislation on the judiciary and in particular on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors.

First of all, I would like to underline that the Venice Commission has not seen and even less, examined this text. However, we are aware that serious concerns have been raised as to the compatibility of the amendments with international standards and the Turkish Constitution. By contrast, the current legislation, introduced only a few years ago, was positively assessed by the Venice Commission and is generally compatible with international standards.

Under these circumstances I can only strongly warn against taking hasty decisions. The independence of the judiciary is of the utmost importance and in no case should the judiciary be subject to the control by the Ministry of Justice. Therefore no law in this area should be adopted, and even less implemented, before its compatibility with international standards and the Turkish Constitution has been thoroughly examined and confirmed.
If the law were adopted and submitted to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey, implementation of the law should not begin before its constitutionality is confirmed by the Court.

The Venice Commission is ready, if asked, to examine the draft law, if appropriate in co-operation with other Council of Europe bodies.

Gianni BUQUICCHIO
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