The International Association of Prosecutors follows with the greatest concern the recent development in Turkey
In response to the reported suspension of more than 2.700 Turkish judges and prosecutors following the attempted coup d'état on the evening of July 15, 2016, the IAP issues the following statement:
The IAP is the only worldwide association of prosecutors, prosecuting authorities and associations. The IAP covers six continents and 173 jurisdictions. It is a non- governmental, non-political organization and is committed to connect prosecutors globally, to raise the standards of professional conduct and ethics for prosecutors worldwide, and to promote the rule of law, fairness, impartiality and respect for human rights.
The IAP condemns the violent attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government. Our thoughts go to the many people who lost they lives and to their families and friends. The responsible persons should be held accountable through fair proceedings in accordance with the rule of law.
During the last 24 hours, the international media has consistently reported that as an immediate reaction to the attempted coup d’état on the evening of Friday 15 July 2016, more than 2700 judges and prosecutors have been suspended and that orders for the arrest of many have been issued. No media have reported that evidence is offered for their involvement in the attempted coup d’état.
The rule of law is essential to a peaceful society of freedom and democracy. Prosecutors play a fundamental role in protecting it. They must be able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference or unjustified exposure to civil, penal or other liability (United Nations Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, article 4). As a minimum, any procedure to remove prosecutors from their functions must observe the rule of law and ensure that every prosecutor enjoys a fair hearing.
During the last two and a half years, a high number of Turkish judges and prosecutors have reported that they have been illegally removed from their functions. The IAP has discussed the matter with the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and has presented questions as to the process. The High Council claims that these judges and prosecutors are members of a ‘parallel state structure’ lead by Fethullah Gülen, and are committed to an overthrow of the Turkish government.
The IAP is deeply concerned that the recent attempted coup d’état serves as a pretext to the swift conclusion of a year-long and strongly contested process of the removal of these same judges and prosecutors. The IAP stresses the importance of upholding the rule of law in this crucial time after the attempted coup d’état.
The IAP strongly urges the Turkish state authorities to revoke the decisions to suspend these judges and prosecutors and the orders of the arrest until concrete evidence of their involvement can be demonstrated and until proceedings in accordance with the rule of law have been initiated.