Turkey: Urgent action letter to UN Special Rapporteurs on the failure of Turkey to carry out a genuine investigation into the killing of Tahir Elci

Turkey: Urgent action letter to UN Special Rapporteurs on the failure of Turkey to carry out a genuine investigation into the killing of Tahir Elci - Protection

Image: Twitter -Tahir Elik

ARTICLE 19 joins 47 international organisations in a letter to several UN Special Rapporteurs requesting urgent action ahead of the next hearing on 03 March 2021 in the criminal trial of those accused of killing lawyer Tahir Elçi in November 2015.

Providing a detailed analysis of the shortcomings of the investigation and prosecution into the incident and underlining Turkey’s international human rights obligations, the undersigned organisations urged UN Special Rapporteurs to request the Turkish authorities to ensure a fair trial by an impartial and independent tribunal (respecting the procedural rights of Tahir Elçi’s family), as well as carry out a prompt, effective, impartial, and independent investigation into his death.

The letter requests the Special Rapporteurs call on the Turkish authorities to ensure:

i. The case is heard by an independent, impartial, and competent court that is capable of establishing the facts and truth around the killing of Mr. Elçi;

ii. All future hearings comply with international standards regarding the right to a fair trial, in which the victims’ rights are also recognised;

iii. The hostile attitude from the court towards the Elçi family and their lawyers and the court’s persistent refusal to follow the rules of procedure and principles of both domestic and international law are not repeated in future hearings;

iv. The lawyers for the Elçi family are given reasonable opportunities to be heard and to make their applications in relation to the procedure and the evidence;

v. Where submissions are refused, reasons for refusal are given in accordance with the case law of the ECtHR;

vi. Following a fair judicial procedure, those who are responsible for Mr. Elçi’s killing are held accountable and serve sentences appropriate to the gravity of the crime committed; and

vii. Elçi’s family is provided with appropriate redress for the violations they and their loved one have suffered in accordance with the international obligations of Turkey and the Minnesota Protocol.

Read the full letter here.


List of signature organisations

  1. Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project
  2. Amsterdam Bar Association, the Netherlands
  3. Article 19
  4. Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), the United Kingdom
  5. Cartoonists Rights Network International
  6. Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP)
  7. Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE)
  8. Danish PEN, Denmark
  9. Defence Without Borders – Solidarity Lawyers (DSF-AS)
  10. Dutch League for Human Rights
  11. Fair Trial Watch, the Netherlands
  12. European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)
  13. French National Bar Council (CNB)
  14. Gelderland Bar Association, the Netherlands
  15. Geneva Bar Association, Switzerland
  16. Giuristi Democratici, Italy
  17. Human Rights Commission of the European Bars Federation (FBE)
  18. Human Rights in Practice, the Netherlands
  19. International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
  20. Italian National Bar Council (CNF)
  21. Lawyers for Lawyers, the Netherlands
  22. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  23. Lawyers without Borders, Belgium
  24. Limburg Bar Association, the Netherlands
  25. Lyon Bar Association, France
  26. Midden-Nederland Bar Association, the Netherlands
  27. National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
  28. Netherlands Helsinki Committee
  29. Noord-Holland Bar Association, the Netherlands
  30. Noord-Nederland Bar Association, the Netherlands
  31. Oost-Brabant Bar Association the Netherlands
  32. Overijssel Bar Association, the Netherlands
  33. Research Institute on Turkey, the United States
  34. Rotterdam Bar Association, the Netherlands
  35. Rovereto Bar Association, İtaly
  36. Swiss Democratic Lawyers, Switzerland
  37. The European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL)
  38. The Foundation day of the Endangered Lawyer
  39. The Hague Bar Association, the Netherlands
  40. The Institute for the Rule of Law of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA- IROL)
  41. The International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)
  42. The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD)
  43. The International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR)
  44. The joint Presidents of the Local Bar Associations of the Netherlands
  45. The Law Society of England and Wales, the United Kingdom
  46. The National Lawyers Guild (U.S.) International Committee
  47. Zeeland-West-Brabant Bar Association, the Netherlands