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Marking the date of Giovanni Falcone’s assassination by the Mafia in 1992, MEDEL pronounced the 23rd of May as the alert day for the independence of justice in Europe. On this date, we are invited to reflect on the need for an independent and effective justice all over Europe and its importance for the safeguard of European citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.
In no place as in Turkey did we witness such an orchestrated and premeditated campaign to completely destroy the independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law.
Since the attempted Coup d’État of July 15th, 2016, MEDEL received many messages from colleagues, relatives and other sources, reporting what was happening to judges and prosecutors in Turkey. With the collaboration of its member associations, MEDEL is today publishing an ebook with a selection of those letters, translated in 12 different languages. These messages, gathered together without comments and modifications (apart from anonymizing them) provide for na impressive witnessing of the incredible acceleration of the falling of Rule of Law in Turkey.
As long as one single Turkish Judge or Prosecutor is imprisoned for his fight for an independente Judiciary, no Judge or Prosecutor elsewhere in Europe may feel completely free and independent.
May 23rd, 2019
The bureau of MEDEL

 

Statement of MEDEL

Letters from the Turkish Judiciari 2016-2017

The aim of the monitoring study is to identify, trace over time and explore the attacks in Bulgaria against courts, judges and their professional organisations.
The media monitoring study and analysis set out below have two main aspects:
-   In the first place, they outline the attacks against courts in the media and those implicit in statements made by public figures with strong opinion-making potential, including attacks from representatives of the three branches of government — judiciary, executive and legislative — and by representatives of non-governmental organisations, including sociologists and political scientists. The analysis then seeks to uncover and explore the underlying reasons, gauge the intensity and explore the nature of the attacks against courts on the part of leading opinion makers in Bulgaria.
-    They also provide a chronological account of the media publications containing attacks against courts, judges and their professional organisations. The monitoring exercise takes a critical look at journalistic articles purporting to report on developments in the judiciary (materials and information updates relating to key events); interviews with opinion leaders; analyses; commentaries and investigations with implications for the judiciary.

 

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"MEDEL wishes to express his support to the decision of the EC to transfer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU ... "

 

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DECLARATION
of the Bulgarian Judges Association in respect of the decision adopted by the Plenary of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to abstain in the vote on the proposal put forth by the Executive Board of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) to suspend the membership of the National Judiciary Council of Poland
(Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa, KRS)
Members of the Council,
In connection with your decision, adopted at the meeting of the plenary of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) held on 13 September 2018, to abstain in the vote proposed by the Board of the European Network of Councils of the Judiciary (ENCJ) to suspend the membership of the National Judicial Council of Poland (Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa, KRS), we express our concern by the evident reluctance of the SJC to openly declare its position on manifest violations of fundamental principles and values, such as court independence, irremovability of judges and the rule of law in Poland.

 

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"...You will soon host a high-level meeting in Bulgaria between senior EU officials and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In the wake of the failed coup in July 2016, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens were arrested, and reports continue to pour in from various legitimate sources that many of them were detained unlawfully, without any evidence, and subsequently tortured to forcefully obtain confessions of alleged involvement in the attempted coup. Among them are more than 3000 Turkish judges and prosecutors arrested simultaneously, most having remained in detention for more than eighteen months. We naturally condemn any attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government by anti-constitutional means in in a sovereign country, including Turkey. At the same time, we firmly believe in the above democratic values and would like to rely on you, in your role as the host of the forthcoming meeting, to become their advocate before the President of Turkey, calling for respect for the right to life, the prohibition of torture and degrading treatment, and the right to liberty and fair trial of each Turkish citizen against whom charges of involvement in the attempted coup in Turkey have been brought, including in particular fellow judges and prosecutors..."

 

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Dear colleagues and friends,

Bulgarian Judges Association wish you a blessed Christmas Day and a just and successful new year 2018!

"...MEDEL underlines that restrictions and limitations to the right of professional associations of judges and prosecutors are contrary to the principles of democracy in Europe (see Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12 on judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities - 25. Judges should be free to form and join professional organisations whose objectives are to safeguard their independence, protect their interests and promote the rule of law).
MEDEL alerts European institutions on the legislative initiative undertaken and calls to the Bulgarian authorities to ensure that the legislative amendments proposed by the Bill amending and supplementing the Judiciary Act are reversed or withdrawn..."

 

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"... The implementation of the Judiciary Sistem Act adopted on first reading of the Bulgarian Parliament will be prone to impede the free association of magistrates in professional organisations while at the same time might prohibit them from sitting on the governing boards of organisations jointly established with representatives of other legal professions...

 

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European Association of Judges

 

On July 12th a draft bill (No 1727) regarding amendments to the Supreme Court Act was filed to the Polish Parliament. This proposal gives the Minister of Justice the right to remove all current Supreme Court judges and retire them. As of the date of entry into force of this bill the Minister of Justice shall designate judges of the Supreme Court who shall remain in active service.

The European Association of Judges was very recently informed about this draft law that would imply a clear attack against the independence of the Polish Judiciary and an undisputable breach on European standards of Judicial Independence.

The European Association of Judges considers that the present situation in Polish Judiciary represents a methodical demolishing of the fundamental right to an independent court in a manner never seen in any democratic country belonging to the European Union and governed by the Rule of Law. 

The European Association of Judges firmly urges the members of the Sejm to reject this draft bill and appeals to all European Institutions to react against such an infringement on fundamental rules that presided to the foundation of European Union and are enshrined on our common European values.

 

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"...The Bill submitted to the Bulgarian Parliament hinders the free association of magistrates in professional organisations while at the same time prohibiting them from sitting on the governing boards of organisations jointly established with representatives of other legal professions, such as the Bulgarian Union of Jurists. There is hardly any need to put forth arguments demonstrating the self-evident absurdity of such a statutory prohibition..."

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