Young lawmakers support change

01 May 2009

Responses to UNDP and the Ministry of Justice's survey concerning the Turkish Judiciary System have indicated that there is a strong desire especially among younger generations to restructure the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) to better represent the judiciary.

New Horizons - The questionnaire findings from a total of 1021 judges and prosecutors were presented by UNDP’s Democratic Governance Manager Leyla Şen during a seminar on the 16-17th of April. Survey results indicated 73% of judges and prosecutors do not see the current membership structure of the HSYK as representative of the entire judiciary.

According to the findings, 80% of those who support the restructing of the judiciary said they want members of the HSYK chosen from among all judges and prosecutors. 82% of the respondents indicated that the authority of and appointments to the Council must be open to inspection.

Almost all of the participants, 98%, agreed that HSYK’s decisions should sit on solid legal ground. More than half the participants stated dissatisfaction with HSYK’s current procedures in appointments, promotions, assignations and disciplinary actions and 46.5% said the existing procedures in selecting members to the HSYK must be changed.

All of the participants concerted to a transparent and accountable HSYK and reacted strongly against the fact that HSYK rulings cannot be overturned by the courts. 94% of the judges and prosecutors who particapated believed that disciplinary decisions should be regulated by the judiciary.

Another compelling result which came out during discussions at the seminar was the divided opinion regarding the Justice Minister’s and the Ministry of Justice’s undersecretary’s exclusion from the Council. The percentage of both those who favored their membership in the board and those who believed they should be excluded was nearly equal. Despite the difference of opinion, however, the participants found the criteria used in selecting members for the Court of Cassation and the Council of State to be inappropriate. 

Following the presentation of the results, the first day of the seminar witnessed important debates regarding the role of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors. The participants and the panelists comprising of law professors and UNDP international consultants discussed the possible structuring and responsibilities of the Council in comparison with the European experience.

The second day of the seminar hosted panels by academicians Prof. Dr. Mithat Sancar and Assistant Professor Eylem Ümit from Ankara University who assessed the results of the questionnaires from gender, age and occupational perspectives. The analysis indicated that the younger generation of judges and prosecutors were more fervent supporters of the restructuring of the current judicial system than their older counterparts.

To view the complete survey, please click here.