New Zealand Law Society - Lawyer groups tell Turkey to respect rule of law

Lawyer groups tell Turkey to respect rule of law

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Concern about the state of the rule of law in Turkey has been expressed by lawyer organisations around the world.

Following the attempted coup, the Turkish High Council of Judges and Prosecutors has announced the dismissal of 2,745 judges who are alleged to have been involved in the attempt.

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute says it is extremely concerned by the dismissal.

"The IBAHRI calls on Turkey to respect its international obligations, avoid undue mass targeting of state institutions such as the judiciary, and ensure that a transparent investigation is carried out to identify those responsible for instigating the military coup," it says in a statement.

"The speed with which the Council of Judges and Prosecutors was able to identify such a large number of judges supposedly linked to the coup attempt is extremely concerning to the IBAHRI. The [Council] should refrain from suspending and arresting judges until an independent and transparent investigation has taken place to establish whether there is a concrete link between individual judges and those responsible for the failed putsch."

"The prosperity of a country is intrinsically linked to the rule of law and to a strong, independent judiciary and legal profession," President of the Law Society of England and Wales Robert Bourns has said in a statement.

"The rule of law enables business and is fundamental to the cohesion of a powerful and diverse society. Stable legal institutions, an independent judiciary and a government accountable to the people are fundamental elements of a nation which is deeply rooted in the rule of law.

"Given the importance of judicial independence, no member of any judiciary should be dismissed or suspended except for reasons of incapacity or behaviour that renders them unfit to discharge their duties, in accordance with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary."

ABA President Paulette Brown says the ABA calls on the government of Turkey to ensure respect for the rule of the law as it restores order.

"While uncertain times can bring about confusion, justice in accordance with procedural safeguards are an integral part of any democracy. We respectfully ask the government of Turkey to ensure fairness and impartiality in accordance with its own laws and international standards as it responds to the crisis."