Amnesty International Trial Observation Programme
At the Turkey CAP strategy meeting in November 2005 sections agreed that trial observation by section members in Turkey should be conducted in a more organized and professional way. A project and a trial observation manual were written by Amnesty Netherlands to organize future trial observations with clear roles and guidelines for all partners in the project: the IS Turkey team, participating sections, individual observers and Amnesty Turkey. In 2009 a coordinator was appointed within Amnesty Turkey to work one day a week for the project, paid by Amnesty Netherlands.
Originally 7 sections: Belgium (Walloon section), Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK agreed to participate in the project and members from these sections, mainly country coordinators, were trained in Istanbul on the Turkish judicial system, how to behave as an observer, reporting, how to deal with media and the main topics involved.
The goals of the project are:
- Show AI’s concern: The observer represents AI and therefore expresses international public scrutiny and concern about the proceedings.
- AI’s role is to be an impartial observer of the proceedings: The representative’s presence can help to ensure that all parties behave according to international fair trial procedures.
- Collect information for AI.
- Give moral support in some specific cases: The observer’s presence gives the defendant, the defence attorney, and the defendant’s supporters a sense of international solidarity and renewed confidence.
- AI’s role is to ensure that justice is done and is seen to be done.
In the year 2014, AI Turkey carried out a trial observation programme covering 12 cases:
- The cases of Ethem Sarısülük, Abdullah Cömert and Ali İsmail Korkmaz who died as a consequence of police violence during Gezi Park protests,
- The İzmir Twitter case launched against persons for tweets they shared during Gezi Park protests, the case against Beşiktaş sports club’s fan group Çarşı launched for taking part in the Gezi Park protests,
- The hate crime case of Ahmet Yıldız who was killed by his family,
- The case againsth the members of Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) who were practicing their responsibility fort he right to defence,
- The case of refugee Festus Okey who was killed by the police in custody,
- The case of members of Taksim Solidarity (Taksim Dayanışması) launched for organising and taking part in Gezi Park protests,
- The case of Doğankan Bilir who was subjected to police violence in Eskişehir,
- The case of Alper Merdoğlu who was subjected to police violence during Gezi Park protests,
- The Gezi Park case against 255 protesters.
Most of the cases were transferred to other cities due to “security reasons”. For instance, the case of Ali İsmail Korkmaz who was killed under beatings in Eskişehir was transferred to Kayseri, and the case of Abdullah Cömert who was killed by the riot police with a tear gas canister in Hatay was transferred to Balıkesir. AI Turkey followed and obserserved almost all the hearings of the cases in company with more than 15 observers from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Norway, Czech Republic and Germany. AI Turkey also carried out various campaigns and social media actions before and after the hearings. Real time tweets were shared both from personal accounts of the observers, and institutional accounts of the AI to inform general public on the course of cases. Several campaigns were carried out in accordance with the observation reports. International community and AI branches all over the world were also delivered up-to-date information during the hearings of the cases.
Involved AI Sections
- AI Norway
- AI Netherlands
- AI Cezck Rep
- AI UK
- AI Germany
- AI Belgium
- AI France
- AI Finland
- After the cases are determined accoding to the working fields, the observers are selected and case files are opened. The observers are given information on the cases and the dates of hearings. Information on cases and updates are regularly conveyed to the obseravers.
- All the documents and information are gathered through direct contact with relevant persons. The observers’ trips are organised. The observers are informed about the actions to be taken before, during and after the hearing, the check-list is kept up-to-date and shared with the observers.
- Social media and traditional media announcements are made before the hearings of the cases. Real time information is provided during the hearings for the general public.
- After the observed hearings, an internal observer report is prepared; developments in the case and the course of the case are shared with the AI branches and other partners.
- On the basis of observer reports and evaluation, campaigns are designed and implemented.
- AI branches are delivered information on the planned campaigns and actions are carried out for the collaboration with the AI branches to run joint campaigns.
Etiketler: Amnesty International , Trial Observation Programme