The commitment to democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms, which is at the origin of MEDEL’s history, has led us to repeatedly denounce for years the consequences of the crisis and of the ensuing collapse of the rule of law in Turkey.
After the attempted coup d’état, the state of emergency and the end of democracy meant for so many citizens of that country a massive and systematic violation of fundamental freedoms and rights, such as personal freedom, freedom of information, freedom of speech. This included mass arrests, detentions without legal basis and sentences imposed by local courts without respect for the minimum guarantees of due process, despite rulings of the ECtHR in several cases brought before it.
The Communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC on 9 February 2023 -jointly submitted by the Belgian law firm Van Steenbrugge Advocaten (VSA), NGO Turkey Tribunal and MEDEL – is meant to give voice to the demand for justice coming from so many victims, which cannot remain unaddressed, and to contribute to ensure that no Turkish citizen is any longer deprived of the effective protection of fundamental rights and of the inherent guarantees in a State respecting the rule of law.
With this action we wish to bring to the attention of supranational justice the results of an activity of systematic monitoring over time of the allegations of human rights violations, that eventually allowed a legal and factual analysis of the seriousness of facts which can be qualified as crimes against humanity, based on documentary material and individual statements of hundreds of people.
The Turkish people have been hit by a huge tragedy.
MEDEL shares the suffering of the victims and expresses its solidarity for all those affected by a disaster which brought to the destruction of entire communities. For those of us who witnessed in their own countries the impact of events of this kind, the empathy with the population of the regions of Turkey struck by the earthquake is particularly strong.
Nevertheless, every violation of human rights and freedoms must have a response in terms of justice. This is a principle that admits no exceptions: freedoms and human rights are inviolable and universal values. Their protection cannot be suspended or denied. Anyone who deliberately and systematically infringes them must be held accountable.
March 1, 2023
Press release (NGO Turkey Tribunal, MEDEL, VSA) - March 1, 2023 (.pdf)
Joint communication to the Office of Prosecutor of the ICC - February 9, 2023 (.pdf)
Communication summary (.pdf)