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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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European Court condemns Turkey for failure to investigate Kurdish extra-judicial killing

A Kurdish man whose brother was extra-judicially executed in Turkey has won his case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) (Buldan v. Turkey).

Savas Buldan was leaving a casino with two friends in Istanbul on 3 June 1994 when they were approached by seven or eight people with walkie-talkies, firearms and bullet-proof vests who introduced themselves as police officers. The three men were then forced into three cars. That night, three bodies - shot at point-blank range - were discovered in an area near the river.

An investigation was undertaken and murder charges brought against Savas Buldan's suspected killer, who was acquitted for lack of evidence on 18 November 1999.

KHRP took a case to the ECtHR on behalf of Savas Buldan's brother, Nejdet Buldan.

On 20 April 2004, the Court held unanimously that Turkey had violated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for its failure to investigate the abduction and killing of Savas Buldan (Article 2). It found a further violation of the right to an effective remedy under Article 13, ECHR.

In its judgment, the Court noted that the Susurluk Report, which stated that it had been a State strategy to kill wealthy Kurdish people who supported the PKK, had referred to the killing of Savas Buldan. In addition, Hanefi Avci, former head of Istanbul and Diyarbakir Police Intelligence, had maintained that the kidnapping and assassination of Savas Buldan had been carried out by a special team made up of State officials and civilians. The Court nonetheless recalled that the Susurluk Report could not be relied on to establish to the required standard of proof that State officials were implicated in any particular incident. Accordingly, there was insufficient evidence on which to conclude that the applicant's brother was, beyond reasonable doubt, killed by or with the connivance of State agents in the circumstances alleged by the applicant.

Kerim Yildiz, KHRP Executive Director, says, "We will continue to monitor the Turkish Government's implementation of this and other judgments."


[1] The judgment of Buldan v. Turkey (28298/95), is available from the European Court of Human Rights Website