Turkey takes second spot in ECHR violation cases in 2012

25 January 2013 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – Turkey was the country against which the second-highest number of cases of violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was filed in 2012, as court officials held a press conference on Thursday to review the past year.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided against Turkey in 123 cases that were appealed to the Strasbourg-based court. There are almost 18,000 cases currently ongoing against Turkey, making it the country against which the second-highest number of cases has been filed. Turkey follows Russia, which has nearly 30,000 cases filed against it. The cases filed against Russia last year constitute 22 percent of the total caseload of the ECtHR, while the cases filed against Turkey last year constitute more than 13 percent of the ECtHR caseload. Russia and Turkey were followed by Italy, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland and the UK, respectively. ECtHR President Jean Paul Costa gave detailed information over the works of the court in 2012 in a press conference on Thursday. Turkey was sentenced in 123 cases and violated at least one chapter of the ECHR in 177 cases.

On the longevity of trials, Turkey came first in the list with most cases filed against it for long trials. The ECtHR found Turkey guilty in 51 cases, which meant a worst record for Turkey among 47 countries. In addition, Turkey was sentenced by the European court in 37 cases involving freedom and right of security, in 26 cases involving a fair trial.

The total number of cases filed against Turkey in 2012 was 16,879, constituting 13.2 percent of the ECtHR caseload. Russia took first spot with 28,593 cases filed against it.

The total number of cases filed against Turkey in 2011 was 15,950. The ECtHR announced its judgments for 174 cases against Turkey in 2011 and ruled against Turkey in 159 of them. Turkey was the country with the highest number of violations of the ECHR in 2011, the third year in a row. In 1990 Turkey recognized the compulsory jurisdiction of the ECtHR. However, Turkey has still not ratified some of the protocols of the convention, which was drafted in 1950, despite having signed them. Turkey is likely to adopt a law that will establish a commission to review ongoing cases against the country at the ECtHR and decide whether to offer compensation to the plaintiffs in an attempt to decrease the number of cases before the court. Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin in November explained the specifics of the proposal. He said that as of December 2011, the court had fined Turkey 2,404 times, finding it guilty of having violated a number of provisions of the ECHR since 1959, the year the country acknowledged the right of individual applicants to file cases with the European court. This makes Turkey the most frequently fined country by the European court, followed by Italy and Russia, the minister said. He said 493 of the rulings against Turkey were made due to lengthy trial periods, adding that exceeding a reasonable period in the judicial process is the main reason behind the frequency of the rulings against Turkey.