|European Court orders Turkey to pay over|
AKDENIZ AND OTHERS v TURKEY (DISAPPEARANCE, TORTURE)
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Turkey to pay more than £620,000 in compensation to the families of eleven Kurdish men who "disappeared" in detention in 1993, after finding the Turkish Government to be in multiple violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In its 31 May 2001 judgment, the Court found the Turkish Government to have violated the right to life of 11 Kurdish men who have not been seen since they were detained by Turkish security forces in October 1993. The Court held that the men were should be presumed dead since they had been missing for over seven years. The applicants were all close relatives of the men.
On 5 April 1994, the Kurdish Human Rights Project lodged an application with the European Commission of Human Rights on behalf of the nine applicants. In 1997 and 1998 the European Commission held hearings at which they found that the 11 men had been taken from their village and held by the security forces for about 8 days. During this time they had been kept outside, some of them had been tied up and beaten and all were kept in a state of distress and apprehension. The whereabouts of the men since then was unknown. The Commission accepted that the applicants had made numerous complaints to the authorities and in December 1993 an investigation had been initiated by the local Public Prosecutor. The case was then batted back and forth from the Public Prosecutor, who declined jurisdiction in 1994, and the State Security Public Prosecutor who, three years later, also declined jurisdiction and sent the file back to the Public Prosecutor. There were no further developments in the investigation.
In addition to violating of the right to life of the 11 men, Turkey was also found to have failed to conduct an effective investigation into their disappearance in an additional violation of the Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court also found that the treatment of the men whilst in detention constituted a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment). Turkey was also found in violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) and Article 34 (formerly Article 25 § 1 - not to hinder the right to make an individual application). Under Article 41 (just satisfaction), the Court awarded a total of £382,340 in pecuniary damages, £242,500 in non-pecuniary damages and £26,600 in costs and expenses.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. The Kurdish Human Rights Project works for the promotion and protection of human rights within the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the former Soviet Union.2. The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. On 1 November 1998 a full-time Court was established, replacing the original two-tier system of a part-time Commission and Court.