Joint action letter to UN Special Rapporteurs: Tahir Elçi
2 March 2021

Joint action letter to UN Special Rapporteurs: Tahir Elçi

Turkey

Lawyers for Lawyers, together with 47 other lawyers’ and human rights organisations wrote a letter to the United Nations (UN) special mandate holders on the killing of human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi on 28 November 2015 and the lack of effective investigation into his death.

The letter has been addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; and Special Rapporteur on minority issues.

Providing a detailed analysis of the shortcomings of the investigation and prosecution into the incident and underlining Turkey’s international human rights obligations, the organisations request the Special Rapporteurs’ urgent action ahead of the next hearing on 3 March 2021 in the criminal trial of those accused of killing Mr. Elçi and invite the mandate holders to call on the Turkish authorities to ensure;

      i.        The case concerning Mr. Elçi’s killing is heard by an independent, impartial, and competent court that is capable of establishing the facts and truth around the killing;

    ii.        All future hearings before the Diyarbakır 10th Heavy Penal Court comply with international standards regarding the right to a fair trial, in which the victims’ rights are also recognised;

   iii.        The hostile attitude from the court towards the Elçi family and their lawyers and the court’s persistent refusal to follow the rules of procedure and principles of both domestic and international law are not repeated in future hearings;

   iv.        The lawyers for the Elçi family are given reasonable opportunities to be heard and to make their applications in relation to the procedure and the evidence;

    v.        Where submissions are refused, reasons for refusal are given in accordance with the case law of the ECtHR;

   vi.        Following a fair judicial procedure, those who are responsible for Mr. Elçi’s killing are held accountable and serve sentences appropriate to the gravity of the crime committed; and

 vii.        Mr. Elçi’s family is provided with appropriate redress for the violations they and their loved one have suffered in accordance with the international obligations of Turkey and the Minnesota Protocol.

The full letter can be found here.

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