About the Project
Objective of the Project
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to enhancing the role of the higher judiciary in Turkey in initiating further changes in the normative framework and its implementation in line with the acquis, the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights , the provisions of the European Social Charter and other European standards. The specific objective of the project is to enhance the respective roles of the Higher Courts (Constitutional Court , Court of Cassation and Council of State) and of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors as the superior judicial authorities in the accession process and in the adoption of European high judicial standards.
Members of the beneficiaries will attend Round Table meetings, conferences, study visits and placements in European institutions under the scope of the project and will share and exchange experiences on the implementation of European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter in national level
The activities to be implemented under the scope of the project were designed by considering the current functioning of the Turkish judicial system and by keeping the principal of judicial independence in mind. While preparing the project activities, the objective was to create an atmosphere that allows sharing experience and knowledge between the members of the Turkish supreme judicial authorities and other and the EU and the member states’ judicial institutions.
Duration and Budget
Project implementation period: January 2010- October 2013
Budget: € 4.014.000
92.2% of the budget is funded by the European Union, 5,3% by the Turkish Authorities and %2,5 by the Council of Europe.
The beneficiaries of the project are the Constitutional Court , the Court of Cassation, the Council of State and the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey. The mandates and compositions of the Constitutional Court and the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors have changed as a consequence of the referendum on constitutional amendments held on 12 September 2010.
The Constitutional Court is composed of 17 members and has 2 sections and one plenary. Its main function is the constitutional review of legislative acts. In this context, the Court conducts both procedural and substantial examination of laws, decree laws, and the Standing Orders of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Individual application to the Constitutional Court has been introduced as a new domestic remedy for those who consider applying to the European Court of Human Rights. The implementation of the new system will start in September 2012. Reporters and assistant reporters are assigned to the Constitutional Court in order to assist the Court in fulfilling its duties.
The main functions of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors are to elect the members of the Court of Cassation and the Council of State, to manage the personal and professional rights and benefits of judges and prosecutors, except the members of the high courts, and to monitor compliance of judges and prosecutors with laws and regulations while rendering judicial services in accordance with the principles of independence of courts and guarantee for judges and prosecutors. The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors has a president and 21 members and it functions as a plenary and three chambers. The Minister of Justice is the President of the Council, which elects a deputy president from among its elected regular members. The Council is supported in fulfilling its functions by a Secretariat which is headed by the Secretary General and Inspection Board of Judiciary is subordinated to the Council.
The Court of Cassation is the last instance for reviewing decisions and judgments delivered by courts of justice and which are not referred by law to other judicial authorities. The Court of Cassation consists of 23 civil and 15 criminal law chambers and each chamber comprises a president and a sufficient number of members. The Court of Cassation has 387 members. Members of the Court of Cassation are elected by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors from among the first category judges and public prosecutors serving in the courts of justice. Judge Reporters and Public Prosecutors are assigned to the Court of Cassation. The Judge Reporters and Public Prosecutors examine the appealed case files, conduct preliminary preparations and present the file to the members of the Court, in civil and criminal cases respectively.
The Council of State is the last instance for reviewing decisions and judgments delivered by administrative courts which are not referred by law to other administrative courts. It is also the first and last instance for certain cases prescribed by law. The Council of State hears administrative cases, provides legal opinions upon request by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers regarding draft legislation, the conditions and the contracts under which concessions concerning public services are granted, examines draft regulations, settles administrative disputes and discharges other duties prescribed by law. The Council of State has a total of 156 members, 19 of them being the President, the Chief Public Prosecutor (Advocate General), the Vice Presidents and Chamber Presidents. The Council of State consists of 1 administrative chamber and 14 trial chambers and each chamber comprises a president and sufficient number four members. Judge Reporters and Prosecutors are assigned to the Council of State to assist the Court in fulfilling its duties.
Project Activities/Expected Results
The following activities will be carried out within the scope of the project in order to reach the four expected results:
- Expected result 1: Greater awareness of the members of the beneficiary institutions on the EU institutions, their decision making processes and the acquis, as well as on the implications of Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights , the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the execution of the European Court of Human Right’s judgments, and the European Social Charter
- 5 Round Tables on the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter with the participation of 306 members of the Constitutional Court , the Court of Cassation and the Council of State and the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (completed in 2010 in Ankara) on the following topics:
- right to a fair trial
- specific aspects of the right to a fair trial in criminal matters: legal evidence, right to silence, conviction in absentia
- positive obligations under Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR
- right to freedom and security
- freedom of expression
- freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- freedom of peaceful assembly and association
- property rights
- protection of social rights
- protection of the environment
- 24 Study Visits for around 505 people from the beneficiaries to the Council of Europe / European Court of Human Rights and to institutions exercising similar tasks in other European countries and to the EU institutions.
- 105 participants from the CC
- 235 participants from the CoC
- 95 participants from the CSt
- 55 participants from the HCJP
- 16 Conferences with the participation of representatives and consultants of the beneficiary institutions, the EU, the Council of Europe and EU/Council of Europe member states,
- Opening Conference
- Court management within supreme courts
- Possible solutions to the workload of supreme courts
- Performance evaluation of the judiciary
- The constitutional court as a “domestic remedy to be exhausted or effective” within the meaning of the ECtHR
- Access of citizens to Supreme Courts
- Expropriation procedures
- Relations between the supreme courts and the courts of appeals
- Relations between the superior courts and the administrative courts of appeals
- Immigration and asylum
- Ethics and Judiciary
- Urban Transformation and Environment
- Closing conference
- Expected result 2: To promote the co-operation of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and of the Higher Courts (Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation and State Council) as superior judicial authorities with equivalent European institutions
- Placements of 42 judges from the beneficiaries at various European institutions and per courts of other European countries
- 9 from the Constitutional Court
- 11 from the Court of Cassation
- 12 from the Council of State
- 10 from the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors
- Expected result 3: To promote the ability of the Constitutional Court to apply the European Convention on Human Rights within the constitutional review process, especially in the case of individual applications.
- 13 Round Table seminars for the Constitutional Court to share and exchange experiences on the European Convention on Human Rights, and to strengthen capacity building of the Constitutional Court, in training reporters who will be in charge of studying European Court of Human Right’s case law and checking the quality of the Constitutional Court’s decisions in line with European standard.
- Expected result 4: Increased public awareness on the Turkish judiciary system (including on the referendum and the introduction of the individual applications)
- Visibility activities for the Constitutional Court component, including the publication of leaflets and a guidebook, creation of a website and public opinion polls.