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Turkey: ICJ Alarmed by purge of judiciary
by International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
17 July 2016
At a critical moment for Turkish democracy, the ICJ today urged the government to uphold the rule of law and respect Turkey’s obligations under international human rights law.
The ICJ condemns what appears to be a wholesale attack on the judiciary, implemented within hours of the failed coup attempt of 15 and 16 July.
“At such moments of crisis, it is crucial that the independence and security of tenure of judges is respected, so that public confidence can be maintained in the fairness of the justice system,” said Wilder Tayler, ICJ Secretary General.
“Purging the judiciary now endangers the deepest foundations of the separation of powers and the rule of law. An independent judiciary will be critical to ensure a functioning administration of justice for all people in Turkey as the country emerges from the crisis,” he added.
Reports indicate that on 16 July 2,745 judges were suspended by the High Council for Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Arrest warrants were issued for more than a hundred judges.
Two judges of the Constitutional Court, and ten members the HSYK itself, are reportedly among those detained. The ICJ fears that many of these detentions may be arbitrary.
Allegations that the judges concerned were linked to the attempted coup have not been supported by evidence, and it defies credulity that such a high number of judicial authorities could have been involved in the planning or execution of the military coup d’etat.
According to the ICJ, the measures are arbitrary, and contrary to fundamental rule of law principles.
In June, an ICJ report, Turkey: the judicial system in peril, analysed the increasing government control of the Turkish judiciary, including the HSYK, and arrests and dismissals judges, in violation of international standards.
“This weekend’s mass suspensions and arrests of judges represent a dramatic escalation of an attack on judicial independence that was already underway,” said Tayler.
“Disciplinary proceedings against judges should not proceed until it is clear that they will be heard by a body that is fully independent of the executive, and in accordance with the right to a fair hearing,” he added.
The ICJ is also deeply concerned at suggestions by the government that the death penalty may be introduced for those involved in the failed coup.
Re-introduction of the death penalty would violate Turkey’s obligations under Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, and would amount to inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 of the Convention.
The ICJ considers the death penalty to constitute in all circumstances a violation of the right to life and the prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

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These despicable attacks on civilian populations are to be condemned in the strongest possible terms
by United Nations News, agencies
23 July 2016
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA), Tadamichi Yamamoto, have strongly condemned a terrorist attack on a peaceful demonstration in Kabul that killed at least 80 people and injured some 245 others.
Mr. Ban said the terrorist attack was a “despicable crime” that targeted citizens peacefully exercising their fundamental human rights. The terror group IS/Da''esh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Graphic television news footage from the site of the blasts showed many dead bodies lying on the bloodied road, close to where thousands of Hazara had been demonstrating over the route of a planned multi-million-dollar power line.
Mr. Yamamoto, called the attack “an outrage that cannot be justified. An attack deliberately targeting a large, concentrated group of civilians amounts to a war crime”.
The explosions occurred at Dehmazang square in Kabul city, targeting the peaceful demonstration. A suicide attacker detonated his device among the demonstrators.
“This attack is particularly heinous because it targeted civilians as they exercised their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.” Mr. Yamamoto said, “It is an attempt to spread terror amongst civilians and stifle the freedoms that Afghans have sacrificed so much to obtain.”
Mr. Yamamoto highlighted that international humanitarian and international human rights laws underscore the protection of civilians.
15 July 2016 (France 24)
A lorry has ploughed through crowds of people in the southern French city of Nice towards the end of a fireworks display to celebrate the Bastille Day holiday.
Officials have said that at least 84 people have died including several children, and another 18 are in a critical condition, over 200 people were injured in the attack.
The driver of the lorry was shot dead by police. Reports have said that the driver opened fire on the crowd and that weapons were found in the lorry. France''s anti-terror unit is handling the investigation.
“Following the appalling attack in Nice last night, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) expresses its utmost sadness and extends its sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty, on behalf of the Agency and all its staff.
“This heinous and despicable act was perpetrated against innocent men, women and children. It demonstrated a barbaric disregard for fellow human beings, depriving the victims of their most fundamental right: their right to life. It also struck out against the rights of those who have been injured and traumatised, as well as those of the friends and loved ones affected. Such deeds also serve to threaten the wellbeing and stability of our societies.”
“It is harrowing that this atrocity took place in the context of Bastille Day, a moment in the year when all of us, not only France, celebrate the principles of liberté, égalité, and fraternité. These form the bedrock of our European fundamental rights. The Nice attack is an attack on all of us.”
“We both expect and appreciate that States must take the necessary action to prevent acts of terror and to investigate and prosecute the offenders. It is no less imperative that all measures taken by governments in response to such attacks are respectful of the fundamental rights of us all. By doing so, we send out a clear signal: our response is not driven by hatred and fear; we will not be led down the path set out by the perpetrators”.
“The Europe of Values is strong. However hard it may be, we must remain true to it. We will find our strength in solidarity and our commitment to liberté, égalité, and fraternité.”
4 July 2016
Iraq has begun three days of national mourning for more than 200 people killed by a suicide bombing in a busy Baghdad shopping district claimed by IS/Da''esh terrorists, the deadliest attack in the capital this year.
Shiites, Sunnis and Christians wept and lit candles together at the scene of one of the blasts that killed 125 people, while distraught families wandered around the destroyed street carrying pieces of their loved ones away in blankets.
The death toll from the attack climbed during the day as rescuers pulled out more bodies from under the rubble and people succumbed to their injuries. Officials said more than 180 people were wounded.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the terrorist bombing saying “he is appalled by the utter disregard for human life displayed by the perpetrators, who struck as residents prepared for Eid al-Fitr celebrations”.
The Secretary-General appeals to the people of Iraq to reject any attempts to spread fear and undermine the unity of the country, calling on the Government to ensure that the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice as soon as possible, the spokesperson added.
Mr. Ban expressed his deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, and to the Government and people of Iraq, wishing the many injured a speedy recovery.
Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the UN General Assembly, also condemned the attack.
“This horrific act of violence perpetrated upon people, including many children, just going about their business during the holy month of Ramadan is outrageous,” he said.
"This despicable attack is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms."
2 July 2016
The United Nations Security Council joined international condemnation of yesterday''s terrorist attack on a café in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, for which IS/Da''''esh has claimed responsibility.
In a press statement issued today, the Council “condemns the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack, which resulted in more than 20 Bangladeshi nationals and foreigners, including development workers, killed and many injured.”
The 15-member body underscored the need for all States to combat such threats by all means.
The Council reiterated that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is “criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation and wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” and “should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.”
The Council expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, wishing speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the terrorist attack and stressed the need for international efforts to prevent and combat terrorism.
29 June 2016
Three suicide bombings in Istanbul''s main international airport have left at least 41 people dead and many injured, Istanbul''s Governor said.
The Governor''s office released a statement saying a further 239 people were wounded, adding that 109 of those injured had been discharged from hospital. Thirteen of the dead were foreign nationals, the statement said.
The statement revised an earlier death toll of 36, given by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Initial findings point to IS/Da''esh terrorists as being responsible for the attack, Mr Yildirim said.
Turkey has suffered a spate of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul.

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