Strasbourg, 9 September 2015



Declaration of the CCPE

 on communications relating to alleged threats

to the impartial and efficient functioning of the prosecution service in Turkey

In the course of 2015, members of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) have received numerous communications relating to alleged threats to the impartial and efficient functioning of prosecutors in Turkey.

These communications allege that “the rule of law has been suspended in Turkey”, and, “contrary to the Constitutional rule”, prosecutors, as well as judges and police officers, are increasingly the object of transfers, dismissal from office, and  even arrests and prosecution. These alleged practices are reported to be the result of the diligent fulfillment by the victims of their professional duties.

While the CCPE is not in a position to verify the accuracy of each and every individual situation described in these communications, it still wishes to declare that it has taken a due note of the events described.

In this regard, the CCPE would like to refer to the basic principles contained in Recommendation Rec(2000)19 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system as well as to the Opinions that the CCPE has adopted since 2005, and also to the Opinions adopted by the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE).

Thus, in accordance with these instruments, the CCPE wishes to recall that:

1. Prosecutors should benefit from proper independence in the exercise of their functions and, in particular, they must decide whether it is appropriate to initiate or continue prosecutions (Recommendation 2 of the Rec(2000)19).

In the Charter approved by the CCPE in Rome in December 2014 (Opinion No. 9), it is stated in Section V that prosecutors should be autonomous in their decision-making and should perform their duties free from external pressure or interference, having regard to the principles of separation of powers and accountability.

The Bordeaux Declaration, adopted jointly by the CCPE (Opinion No. 4 of 2009) and the CCJE, provides in paragraph 8 that the position and activities of the prosecutors are not subject to influence or interference from any source outside the prosecution service itself.

2. Public prosecutors should, in any case, be in a position to prosecute without obstruction from public officials for offences committed by them, particularly corruption, unlawful use of power, grave violations of human rights and other crimes recognised by international law (Recommendation 16 of the Rec(2000)19).

3. The law should provide that disciplinary proceedings against public prosecutors are governed by law and should guarantee a fair and objective evaluation which would be subject to independent and impartial review (Recommendation 5 of the Rec(2000)19).

The Rome Charter (Section XII) also provides that the recruitment and career of prosecutors, including promotion, mobility, disciplinary and dismissal procedures, should be defined by law and should be based on transparent and objective criteria, under impartial procedures excluding any discrimination and may be subject to an independent and impartial review.

4. In its Opinion No. 10 of 2007, the CCJE considers that "the functioning of the Council for the Judiciary shall allow no concession at all to the interplay of parliamentary majorities and pressure from the executive, and be free from any subordination to political party consideration, so that it may safeguard the values and fundamental principles of justice”.

These fundamental principles are essential for the rule of law and necessary for ensuring equal justice for everybody in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The CCPE remains available to provide any contributions deemed useful in the analysis of the situation in Turkey. The CCPE will follow further developments with interest and invites its member from Turkey to provide a report on the current situation at the next plenary meeting of the CCPE to be held on 19-20 November 2015 in Strasbourg.