Situation in Turkey

Statement of the International Association of Women Judges

IAWJThe International Association of Women Judges (www.iawj.org), representing judges from countries around the world, is committed to judicial independence and impartiality as essential to the Rule of Law. The wholesale termination of judges, with an apparent lack of individualized due process, is a threat to those principles. We urge the Turkish authorities to conform their actions to the dictates of the national Constitution and laws, consistent with international principles of human rights, the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct.

In accordance with these principles, any suspension or removal of a Judge from office should be only for reasons of incapacity or behavior that renders that judge unfit to discharge his or her duties in accordance with established standards of judicial conduct.  Any decisions in disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings should normally be subject to independent review.

The IAWJ accepts that no judge is above the law. A judge who commits criminal offenses is as accountable for those offenses as anyone else. But a judge who is accused of criminal offenses is as entitled as anyone else to the presumption of innocence and to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

The International Association of Women Judges is dedicated to upholding the principles set out above. They are not an option or a luxury. They are an essential component of the Rule of Law which is the foundation of all civilized and democratic societies.