Who Is Immune From Prosecution? Who Isn’t?!

An article in the pro-Islamic Today’s Zaman criticized the AKP government’s recent move in parliament to grant MIT (Turkey’s CIA) officials immunity from prosecution unless approved by the prime minister.  (See my posts on this below.) The newspaper then examines who else is immune from prosecution. It seems a whole lot of people are! (click here) An excerpt:

…Article 129 of the Constitution states, “The prosecution of public servants and other public employees for alleged offenses shall be subject, except in cases prescribed by law, to the permission of the administrative authority designated by law.”…

A detailed report published this week by the State Audit Institution (DDK) on what went wrong in the trial of the murderers of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 blamed the protections bestowed upon public employees for preventing effective prosecution of negligence in his murder…

The DDK inspectors stated that in this country you cannot bring those who acted on behalf of the state to trial. It all originated with members of the ultranationalist Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) who raided the seat of government, known as the raid of Bab-ı Ali, in January 1913. On Feb. 13, 1913, they bypassed Parliament to adopt an interim law on the trying of civil servants, exempting civil servants from being tried for offenses they had committed. The law has remained in effect for 86 years — despite the fact that it was created by the coup stagers who bypassed the parliamentary process. In 1999, it was converted into the Immunity of Government Officials Law 4483… Immunity is actually spelled out in a much stronger fashion in the 1982 Constitution…

Apart from immunity for politicians and members of the judiciary and the military, several professional groups also benefit from immunity. Among them are general directors, board members, governors, members of city councils who are employed under the Law on Trial of Civil Servants and Other Government Officials, mayors, civil servants and other municipal employees and village heads.

Police officers, gendarmes, night guards in rural area, coast guards, forest guards and civil servants and managers at the State Waterworks Authority (DSİ), the General Directorate of Highways, the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK), the State Meteorology Bureau, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK), the Religious Affairs Directorate and the İstanbul Waterworks Authority (İSKİ) can be tried only if their superiors approve the cases.

Members of the judiciary and the military also have immunity, enshrined in the Law on the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Law on the Military Supreme Court of Appeals. Rectors cannot stand trial without the permission of the Higher Education Board (YÖK), and academics cannot stand trial without the approval of rectors. The 1982 Constitution disallowed the prosecution of the 1982 coup generals based on temporary Article No. 15, which was removed with a constitutional amendment adopted in a public referendum in 2010. Politicians, however, cannot escape trial once their parliamentary immunity is lifted…

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment