Murat ArslanThe Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has announced in its plenary meeting held today in Strasbourg, France, that the winner of the 2017 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is Murat Arslan, a Turkish Judge, president of YARSAV, an independent Turkish Judges Association, imprisoned since 19th of October 2016.

MEDELMEDEL (Magistrats européens pour la démocratie et les libertés) wishes to express its deep concern on the Bill amending and supplementing the Judiciary Act passed at first hearing by the Bulgarian Parliament.

In its letter dated 25 July 2016 to the Speaker of Bulgarian Parliament, MEDEL stated the reasons against the introduction of the requirement for magistrates (judges and prosecutors) to declare their membership to professional organisations. Such requirement unreasonably limits their right to free association as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

MEDELMEDEL has been following with an increasing concern the development of the situation in Poland. Only on 1st July 2017, the General Assembly of MEDEL adopted a communiqué on the Constitutional Court in Poland, calling the EU institutions to continue the dialogue with Polish authorities in order to restore the Rule of Law. Since then, the governing majority in Poland has taken further steps to weaken the judicial independence which will deeply undermine the fundaments of the democratic rule of law state.

On 12th July 2017, Sejm – the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament - adopted the laws amending the Law on the National Judicial Council and the Law on Common Courts. They were already confirmed by the higher chamber of the Parliament (Senat), acting in hasty proceedings, without proper debate and consideration, and now both laws are waiting for the signature of the President of the state. The Law on the National Judicial Council provides inter alia the expiry of the term of office of its judicial members and the election of the new ones not by their peers, but by politicians.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The assessment of the status of the justice system in Turkey clearly proves that the independence of the judiciary is abolished.

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey refers to its previous declarations and to the attached summary on the developments and their results.

It is urgent to return to the rule of law and to bring back to the Turkish people the fundamental rights of which they had been deprived.

JusticeDeclaration of all the former Presidents of the Constitutional Court of Poland on the recent laws put forward by the government, that undermine the Rule of Law.

MEDELFor decades Constitutional Courts in Europe played a significant role in the preservation of the Rule of law, the protection of the individual’s fundamental rights and the strengthening of democracy. Nowadays, although the position of Constitutional Courts seems to be solid in most of European countries, it is MEDEL obligation to further underline their importance, especially in times of economical and immigrant crises, and to recommend to even strengthen their role, when simple and dangerous solutions proposed by populists all over the continent may attract many Europeans.

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