HDP's plan to take gov't to ICC not realistic or possible, experts says

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
ANKARA
Published 07.03.2016 21:34
Updated 08.03.2016 01:11

As the debate on lifting the parliamentary immunity of some Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies continues, ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Hüseyin Kocabıyık told Daily Sabah on Monday that the HDP aims to file a complaint against the government at the International Criminal Court (ICC), claiming the government conducts massacres. Explaining that some of the HDP deputies had previously applied to the United Nations with claims that the government is conducting ethnic cleansing, Kocabıyık asserted that the HDP deputies' immunity must be lifted. Commenting on the possibility of the government being taken to trial at the ICC, Cem Duran Uzun, the director of the Law and Human Rights Department at the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), said that it is impossible for such a trial to take place. Similar to Uzun's position, a prominent Kurdish expert at Dicle University in Diyarbakır, Vahap Coşkun, said that it is not possible for the government to be put on trial at the ICC.

Claiming that the main aim of the HDP deputies is to defame the government in the international arena, Kocabıyık said that the party's aims will not succeed and that it is not possible for the government to be put on trial at the ICC. "The HDP deputies are conducting the PKK's strategy and policies of a smear campaign at the international level against Turkey. The evidence of their aims can be identified in two ways, the first being HDP deputies continuously making claims of Turkey conducting ethnic cleansing and massacres so that it is documented in Parliament reports. The second way is that these deputies have previously applied to the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), but have been rejected by these organizations," he said. Kocabıyık also stated that HDP deputies aim to use the reports on the claims they make at Parliament when applying to the ICC in order to show they already applied to the U.N. two days ago with the same efforts.

Commenting on the issue, Duran said: "It is not possible for Turkey to go on trial at the ICC as we have not signed the Rome Statute of the ICC nor did we approve it. Even if we did agree on the Rome Statute, the Turkish officials claiming to be responsible would have to first go on trial in Turkish courts." While he said there is another way to go on trial at the ICC, requiring approval from the U.N. Security Council [UNSC], Duran said that such a method is highly unlikely due to the application process and difficulty in getting approval from the UNSC. Coşkun also said it is impossible for the government to be put on trial at the ICC or any other international court on the basis of the accusations from HDP deputies.

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