Justice-seeking relatives of 13 civilian citizens who were murdered by public officials, were left disappointed once again today at the courthouse. Brigadier General Musa Çitil is accused of taking 13 civilian, innocent people into custody between 1992 – 1994 (while he was the Mardin City Derik District Gendarmerie Commander) and high-handedly executing them.
Çitil, who reportedly is still the Ankara Gendarmerie Commander, did not attend the first hearing of the criminal case filed against him by the Mardin 1st High Criminal Court. Right before the second hearing on 25.12.2012, the Penal Department No. 5 of the Supreme Court has decided to transfer the case to Çorum High Criminal Court (which is more than a thousand kilometers away), upon the request of the Ministry of Justice.
Once again today, it was understood that the crimes constitutive of heavy human rights violations perpetrated by public officials will not be effectively and fairly investigated, and that administrative authorities are trying to protect such public officials.
Seven years ago, the public case regarding special force team members responsible for the murder of Ahmet and Ugur Kaymaz was transferred to the Eskisehir High Criminal Court in the same way, using the same method. While the suspects of the case were acquitted, lawyers of the relatives of those who were murdered were tried in the same court.
According to Subclause 2 of the 19th Article titled “Transfer of Legal Action” in the Turkish Penal Code, “The Ministry of Justice demands the transfer of a case from the Court of Appeal, if having the prosecution in the commissioned and authorised court presents a danger for public security”.
As it is known, Mardin city center has always been one of Turkey’s safest centers. Likewise, the claim that the necessary precautions cannot be taken in order to try a public official does not have a foundation and is not convincing. An action/behavior that endangers public security has not been seen in Mardin or nearby the courthouse during the first hearing of the case. It goes without saying that judicial and administrative authorities have tried to cater for the suspect’s demand to be tried wherever and however he wishes. It is obvious that justice will not appear from within such a prosecution.
The 19th Article of the Turkish Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK) regarding the transfer of legal action has been abused and completely used against its aims.
The Diyarbakir Bar Association will, under all circumstances, be in solidarity with the victims who have lost their relatives, in their pursuit for justice. It continues its cooperation with the victims against a judicial culture which renders public officials who are responsible for heavy human rights violations exempt from crime and punishment.
Lawyer Tahir ELÇİ
Diyarbakir Bar Association Director