Burned bodies in Kurdish district Cizre
Human rights lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Eren Keskin, Ergin Cinmen, Banu Güveren and Erdal Doğan have spoken about the recent statement on the killing of Kurdish civilians in Cizre by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
The human rights advocates said the call by the UN for an investigation was positive but belated and that the investigation could extend to the International Court of Human Rights in the Hague.
Keskin: The UN has finally remembered its duty
Human rights advocate Eren Keskin stressed that launching an investigation about the massacres is the UN’s duty. Mentioning that the UN has to take initiative in all places where crimes against humanity are committed and civilians suffer rights violations, Keskin said the UN’s demand is a belated one in this sense. Keskin said, “More than 100 people lost their lives, burned beyond recognition in the basements of buildings in Cizre. If the UN had intervened in time, maybe so many civilians would not have died.”
Keskin pointed to the EU’s responsibility in this matter and stated that Turkey had signed the international treaty with the EU but still acted in defiance of the signatures. Keskin said, “The signatory states of the treaties should be investigating Turkey for the rights violations against civilians.” Citing the Yugoslavia example, Keskin said the investigation could extend to the Hague and stated that the interests between states should not supercede humanitarian law.
Kozağaçlı: AKP can't evade prosecution
Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) Chair Selçuk Kozağaçlı said the UN was belated in launching the investigation decree and said the matter “was not assessed in line with the conjuncture that all war crimes and crimes against humanity are committed in the world”. Kozağaçlı said the investigations and prosecutions were usually launched only after the crime had been committed, and the UN unit responsible for intervening in time to prevent massacres had turned a blind eye due to the dirty deals with the AKP, namely the refugee crisis. Kozağaçlı also pointed out that the belated investigation is a sign that the AKP regime was losing power and influence; he continued: “The culprits of war crimes and crimes against humanity are indeed powerful during the committing of the crimes, they have the means to hide the crimes and build a rhetoric, but only to some extent. The moment the states that commit these crimes start getting weaker, the investigations and prosecutions start. This process launched by the UN is a sign that the regime is getting weaker.”
Kozağaçlı said that all investigations for crimes against humanity start slow, but then snowball in time and the AKP will without a doubt not be able to evade prosecution for both their connections with Islamic State (IS/ISIS) and their war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kurdish cities.
Cinmen: The Turkish state is facing serious allegations
Lawyer Ergin Cinmen said, “There is a law in war and in dealing with violence. Within this law, such atrocities are not allowed. In this sense, the UN’s evaluation in this matter will be very important and it is apparent that the Turkish state will face serious allegations.” Cinmen pointed out that the UN had issued a belated decree and said that intellectuals had launched campaigns while the people were first trapped in the basements, but that voice was not heeded. Cinmen said the results of the investigations will be as serious as the events, and expressed that he believed the UN would run an effective investigation.
Güveren: Belated demand
Libertarian Lawyers Association (ÖHD) Chair, Lawyer Banu Güveren also called the UN investigation demand a “belated demand”. Güveren said, “The UN should have initiated this when the screams rose from the basements in Cizre,” and stated that they had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) several times and had sent reports to the UN during that time but they received no answer due to political reasons. She said that the demand by the UN was positive despite everything that had happened, but she didn’t actually believe an effective result would be achieved because of Turkey’s general approach. Stating that none of their criminal complaints regarding the massacre in Cizre were even put into operation, Güveren said the UN investigation demand could at least have positive results for the sound proceeding of the investigation.
Example of Israel
Lawyer Erdal Doğan said the UN’s decision for an investigation is important and right. Doğan stressed that the security forces, provided with guarantees that they would not be investigated in any manner by the state and the government, should be tried for crimes against humanity. Doğan said it would not change anything that Turkey wasn’t party to the International Criminal Court (ICC), citing the example of Israel which is also not a party but has been tried.
- Kurdish Question
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