Turkey’s candidates for European court rejected

Turkey Materials 2 October 2007 23:55

( Todayszaman ) A sub-committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has rejected three candidates nominated by Turkey for the country's position in the Strasbourg based-top court of human rights, displaying the difference of capacity level among the three candidates' suggesting that this would lead to inequality among candidates.

After the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights informed on Monday the PACE secretariat general on Monday concerning its evaluation of Ankara's list of candidates, Turkey subsequently withdrew its list and now will have to draft a new list.

Mustafa Erdogan , professor of constitutional law from the Hacettepe University; professor of international and European protection of human rights and constitutional law from the University of Brussels; and Arzu Oguz , professor of law from the University of Brussels, were on Turkey's list which was presented in March to the Council of Europe in a letter signed by Turkey's permanent representative to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Daryal Bat?bay .

In December last year, the Council of Europe had initiated the procedure for the election of 20 judges to replace those whose term of office will expire by the end of October 2007. Later, the Council of Europe extended this period to February 2008 due to technical reasons. R?za Turmen , the Turkish judge at the European Court of Human Rights, was reelected to the court in 2001 for six years after his first election to the court in 1998.

In order to evaluate whether Turkey's candidates have fulfilled the required criteria for becoming a judge at the European court, a closed-door interview session was held for each of the three candidates by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and these interviews were concluded last month. Candidates for the European court are required to have a good command of the European legal system and particularly human rights law.

The committee arrived to the conclusion that both Erdogan and Oguz could not fit to the criteria recommended by the court, reliable sources at the Council of Europe, told Today's Zaman . Since only Ergec was appreciated as a candidate fulfilling the required criteria, the committee has decided that election among candidates who have different level of capabilities would not be a fair election.

Twenty current judges of the European court will be retired in February 2008 and will be replaced by new judges since Russian State Duma , the lower house of the Russian Parliament, did not approve Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which lengthens the terms of the judges from six to nine years.