Judicial reform package in Turkey to make pre-trial detention difficult

Judicial reform package in Turkey to make pre-trial detention difficult

Minister of Justice of Turkey Sadullah Ergin on Wednesday announced a new judicial reform package that, among many other things, aims to make it difficult for courts to issue detention orders for suspects before trial, Today's Zaman reported.

The package, which introduces nearly 100 amendments to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), the Counterterrorism Law (TMK) and the Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law, was designed to increase democratization in line with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and ease the judiciary's burden by accelerating judicial processes, Ergin said.

He added that the package introduces extra measures to lighten the heavy workload of the judiciary, which has failed to conclude thousands of cases in recent years. Ergin said if the new reforms are approved, they will influence nearly 2 million cases in Turkey. One major reform included in the package would make it more difficult for courts to issue detention orders for suspects.

Ergin said the courts will be required to cite concrete evidence in the case of strong suspicion of an individual having committed a crime and to explain why the arrest measure is necessary.

Long pre-trial detentions have recently been a much-debated and criticized issue in Turkey. In Turkey, a case takes five years on average to go through the judicial system, and there are many cases that have been pending for decades. This situation creates many problems with regard to human rights, especially if a suspect is eventually found innocent after a long period of detention. As of early 2011, there were approximately 57,000 inmates in prisons awaiting final decisions from the Supreme Court of Appeals. The government took a number of measures last year to speed up the judicial process and shorten detention periods. According to a change made to Article 102 of the CMK, the maximum detention period is three years for crimes under the jurisdiction of high criminal courts, while the maximum period of detention is one-and-a-half years for most crimes not under their jurisdiction.

After referring to the European Convention on Human Rights Article 6 on the right to be tried within a reasonable time, Ergin said Turkey has been penalized by the ECtHR due to violations of this article. "This third package, which can be considered as the continuation of efforts to speed up judicial processes thus far, has been drafted in order to make judicial services more efficient [in terms of time] by making changes to regulations on the penal code, bankruptcy and enforcement and administration laws," he said.

According to the package, individuals can submit all kinds of petitions to the related bureaus of administrative courts without having to wait for the judge, and those individuals will be given a free paper documenting the date of their submission. Cases dealing with issues that are valued at less than TL 50,000 will be finalized in regional administrative courts. Cases that appeal decisions made by supreme governing bodies such as the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA), Competition Authority (RK) and Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) will be heard in regional administrative courts.

The new package rearranges the duties of the Council of State Administrative Cases Bureau in an attempt to pave the way for the bureau to work continuously for three years. With the new system, roughly 6,000 appeal cases backlogged in the Council of State's chambers for administrative cases will be concluded within two years. If this reform doesn't come into force, the cases are expected to take more than 10 years to wrap up.

If the reforms come into force, criminal records, which are now maintained until an individual's death or 80 years after the crime, will be expunged after 30 years. Ergin said the criminal records of those who were convicted of petty crimes will be expunged after five years, while criminal records of those who were convicted of crimes against the state or disgraceful crimes will be cleared after 15 years.

Ergin added that the package also introduces changes to Article 6 and 174 of the TCK, which would classify Molotov cocktails as firearms and reduces sentences by half for those convicted of committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member of it.

With the reforms, public prosecutors will no longer be authorized to impose administrative fines on individuals who drive vehicles without drivers' licenses or with blood alcohol levels exceeding the legal limit in an attempt to decrease the prosecutors' workloads. This authority will be taken over by officials from governors' offices.

The package reclassifies some actions previously considered to be crimes as misconduct. According to the reforms, those who are captured after entering Turkey through illegal means and those who work as travel agents without an official license will be assessed an administrative fine instead of facing jail time. Those who commit petty crimes, including that of civil servants involved in private businesses, desecration of foreign countries' flags and misconduct in the burial of bodies, will not go to court for their actions, but they will receive a fine. However, the penalties for those with criminal records or who victimize another person will not change in this reform.

The crime of bribery is redefined in the reform to comply with the recommendations to Turkey from the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and with the standards specified in the Prime Ministry's action plan on corruption. If the package passes, bribery will be classified as a crime. A public official's receipt of a bribe is classified currently as misconduct. A public official who engages in the crime of bribery will face up to 12 years in prison.

Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of electrical products
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of electrical products
Turkmenistan’s Turkmentruba opens tender to buy chemical products
Turkmenistan’s Turkmentruba opens tender to buy chemical products
Volume of food oil exported from EAEU to Turkmenistan revealed
Volume of food oil exported from EAEU to Turkmenistan revealed
Loading Bars
Azerbaijani defense minister: Armenian armed forces retreating suffering big losses
Ukrainian MFA deeply concerned with escalation of conflict between Armenia, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh issues statement on Armenia’s recent attack (VIDEO)
MFA: Georgia express readiness to contribute to de-escalation of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict
Azerbaijani president: I have said several times, including from UN platform recently, that Armenia preparing for new war, and Armenia must and will be stopped
Israel-Azerbaijan International Association urges Armenia to stop occupation policy
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan will never negotiate with puppet junta regime
Azerbaijani president: Ours is the cause of justice, we will win
Azerbaijani president: Armenia received their punishment this time again and will continue to receive it
France reiterates its commitment to reaching negotiated and lasting settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict
Turkish president phones Azerbaijani president
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office calls for return to ceasefire around Nagorno-Karabakh
German Federal Foreign Office appeals to end hostilities within Nagorno Karabakh region
President Erdogan: Turkey with all its capacities close to Azerbaijan
Assistant to president: Security Council holds meeting chaired by Azerbaijani supreme commander
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for September 27
Azerbaijani parliament to hold meeting
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry shared video footage from battlefield
Azerbaijan confirms 132 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: Armenian armed forces’ defense line broken through, 7 villages liberated from occupation
Kazakhstan's MFA calls on Azerbaijan, Armenia to abandon use of force, start negotiations
Council of Europe Secretary General calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to immediately stop hostilities
Hajiyev: Azerbaijani people united around supreme commander
Hikmat Hajiyev: Armenians distributing old videos
President of European Council appeals for military action to stop within Nagorno Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office: 9 wounded civilians hospitalized
Azerbaijani BestComp Group wins CISCO Corporation's tier-one partnership
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's transport sector
Georgia president: Very concerned with resumption of hostilities between Armenia, Azerbaijan
Turkish Parliament Speaker: Armenia - terrorist state that threatens not only Azerbaijan
Turkish ambassador: Turkey has always been and will be next to Azerbaijan
Defense ministry discloses villages liberated by Azerbaijani army
Zakharova: Russian FM intensively conducting talks on situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region
OSCE MG co-chairs appeal to cease hostilities within Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijan's MFA: Full responsibility for current situation falls on Armenia
Azerbaijani president chairs meeting of Security Council (PHOTO)
Assistant to president: Azerbaijani armed forces liberate number of occupied territories
Defense Consultant: Any activities conducted in Nagorno Karabakh by Armenia - illegal
CSTO makes statement regarding aggravation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenia plans to occupy Azerbaijani lands and does not hide it
Armenia confirms casualties suffered from its military attack on Azerbaijan
Iranian Offshore Oil Company boosts extraction
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani army currently inflicting blows to Armenia's military positions
Azerbaijani NGOs appeal to presidents of US, Russia, France due to Armenian provocation
Ombudsman makes statement on Armenia's gross violation of ceasefire with Azerbaijan
Net profit of Azerbaijani banks slightly drops
Port facilities launched in Iran's Hormozgan Province
Azerbaijan's import of cars from Turkey down
Import of cars from Turkey to Russia down during COVID-19
Cargo shipment data from Italy via Turkey's port disclosed
Azerbaijan discloses names of civilians wounded as result of Armenia's attack
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: Armenian side suffering numerous losses
Lithuanian, Latvian FMs concerned over Armenia's large-scale provocation against Azerbaijan
Foreign Ministry: Turkey to render required support to Azerbaijan
President Aliyev: Armenia plans to occupy Azerbaijani lands and does not conceal that
Azerbaijani president: We have no military targets in Armenia
Russian Foreign Ministry makes statement about hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh region
President Aliyev: Azerbaijani Army currently firing on and dealing blows to Armenia's military positions
Defense Ministry: Azerbaijan Army’s counter-offensive operation continues successfully
Value of goods sold at Iran Mercantile Exchange increases
Demand for Turkish cars in Kazakhstan drops
President Ilham Aliyev appeals to Azerbaijani people (PHOTO)
Turkish presidential spokesman: Ankara supports Baku, condemns Armenia’s latest provocative actions against Azerbaijan
Turkish presidential administration: Armenia responsible for destabilizing situation in region
Turkish Grand National Assembly member: Armenian PM’s behavior shows that his policy far from peace and stability
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry appeals to population of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region
Defense ministry: Azerbaijan denies Armenia’s information about shooting down of 3 tanks
S. Korea reports 95 more COVID-19 cases, 23,611 in total
Arab analyst: OIC should have clear position in resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Peru's COVID-19 cases exceed 800,000
Number of trucks passes via Iran's Bazargan checkpoint revealed
Tengiz Tsertsvadze: Incease in coronavirus cases is expected for next several days, the situation will stabilize afterwards
12 OSA anti-aircraft missile systems of Armenian air defense units were destroyed - Defense Ministry
Defense Ministry: Azerbaijan Army’s Troops launches counter-offensive operation along entire front
Hikmat Hajiyev: Entire responsibility for situation at frontline, its further dev't lies on leadership of Armenia
Defense Ministry: Firing points and combat activities of armed forces of Armenia suppressed
Iran's cotton production to increase
Iranian diplomat, UN envoy stress political talks to solve Syrian crisis
COVID-19: 64 fresh cases recorded in Kazakhstan
Armenian armed forces shell Azerbaijani human settlements located in the frontline zone
22 illegal immigrants rescued, 3 bodies recovered off Libyan coast
China's foreign minister may visit Japan as early as October
13 militants killed in clashes with army in northern Lebanon
Trump nominates conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett for U.S. Supreme Court
Explosion kills 7 in Syria's Hasakah
Moscow's death toll from confirmed coronavirus cases rises by 18
Saudi Arabia plans to resume tourist visas by early 2021: minister
Plant of Iran's South Kaveh Steel Company launched
Azerbaijan's cotton company to purchase tires via tender
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of electrical products
Iran lowers import of Turkey-made cars
Energy Community welcomes adoption of Law on Energy and Water Supply by Georgia
Iran discloses details of exports via Kerman Province
UK PM urges unity in global fight against COVID-19
Iran's National Information Network to function alongside global internet
Iran reveals details for returning of currency earnings from exports
Lebanese security forces kill two members of armed group
Iran's import of chemicals from Turkey dips
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Total volume of non-bank deposits in Georgia′ s banking sector up
All news