PACE rejects Turkey’s candidate list for post of judge at ECtHR for second time

(Photo: Cumhuriyet)

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has for the second time rejected a three-person list submitted by Turkey for the post of judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

According to the report, the candidates proposed by Turkey were rejected without being invited for a second interview by PACE on the grounds of lacking the required qualifications.

The Turkish government proposed Deputy Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry Ergin Ergül, Deputy Undersecretary of the Justice Ministry Basri Bağcı and Fatma Arslan, a lawyer in the Netherlands.

Turkey needs to submit candidates to PACE so that a new judge from Turkey can be elected to the court. After the rejection of Turkey’s first candidate list, a second list of candidates was also not accepted.

The tenure of Professor Işıl Karakaş, who was elected to the ECtHR in 2008 from Turkey, ended on April 30.

According to information on PACE’s website, the assembly expects all three of the candidates put forward by a state for election to the post of judge on the ECtHR to be fully qualified so that the assembly is given a proper choice in the election. If it considers otherwise, the assembly can decide to reject a list of candidates and request a new one.

According to the European Convention on Human Rights, judges must “be of high moral character and possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be juris consults of recognized competence.”

To ensure these standards are met, there are two phases to the election process -– firstly a national selection procedure, in which each state party chooses a list of three qualified candidates, and secondly, the election procedure undertaken by the assembly, in which parliamentarians assess the qualifications of the three candidates before voting to decide which one should become judge.

In December, the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) suspended the observer status of Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and excluded it from participation in ENCJ activities for the mass suspension and dismissal of judges and prosecutors and the failure to comply with the European Standards for Councils for the Judiciary.

“The HSYK does not currently comply with the ENCJ Statutes and is no longer an institution which is independent of the executive and legislature ensuring the final responsibility for the support of the judiciary in the independent delivery of justice,” said a statement issued following a vote in the ENJC.

According to the t24 news website, the government has dismissed 4,238 of Turkey’s 14,661 judges and prosecutors since a July 15 coup attempt.