A new justice ministry is needed (II)

As is known, Interior Minister Efkan Ala, Transportation Maritime and Communication Affairs Minister Landutfi Elvan and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdai handed over their posts to undersecretaries at the beginning of March, three months before the elections in line with the Constitution.
In my last column, I discussed temporary Justice Minister Kenan ipekand’s idea about a possible change in the election process of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and defended my idea that not only a change in the selection process of the HSYK is needed, but also a change in the whole ministry organization.
Especially after Sadullah Ergin and Bekir Bozdai, the last two justice ministers of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Justice Ministry became the and”AKP Ministry.and” Even the ministryand’s tea ladies were personally appointed by each of the last two ministers. Iand’ve spoken several times with expats working in several twinned projects of the EU and nearly all NGO lobbyists that I know. They all think the same thing: that the Justice Ministry has become the most conservative ministry in the Turkish bureaucracy in the last decade. This closeness has negatively affected all judges and prosecutors. We were able to see many an enthusiastic judge or prosecutor among the audience or speaking at scientific conferences organized by bar associations 10 years ago. But I havenand’t seen any judge or prosecutor in the past five years at any event organized by a bar association or legal institution. Since the scandal of the Dec. 17-25 graft probe and the AKPand’s war against the Hizmet movement, also known as the Gandulen movement, stigmatization has become so widespread and such a systematic tool in the hands of the government that every honest judge and prosecutor is now afraid of being accused of membership in the so-called and”parallel organizationand” affiliated with the Gandulen movement. I looked up to the judicial reform strategy of the ministry. The main goals of strengthening independence, promoting impartiality and enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism of the judiciary sound very nice in the first sense, but when you read the action plan, you feel that it could leave the door ajar to a more politically motivated and polarized judiciary. Regarding the and”improving management system of the judicial organizationand” part of the reform strategy, and”reducing administrative and financial duties and responsibilities of judges and prosecutorsand” is pointed out as a sub-goal, but it doesnand’t mention a single word about the central organization system of the ministry in Ankara. Contrary to every ministry, hundreds of judges and prosecutors are working in the Justice Ministry as mere public servants and bureaucrats. It is clear that the ministry has a strategy that mostly concentrates on the judges and prosecutors but totally neglects the ones working in the decision-making part of the judicial system. They act for a few years inside the ministry and when there is a change in the ministry, politically affiliated judges return to courthouses to act and”independently and impartially.and” What we need is large-scale reform covering the ministry. Only after that will we be able to expect changes in the field. However, as of today, the ministry is working solely on taking full control of judges and prosecutors by using the ministry bureaucracy and the HSYK — and they are expecting a totally independent and impartial judiciary to exist only on paper. French philosopher Albert Camus said: and”The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.and” As jurists, we have clearly understood what lies beneath the AKPand’s Ministry of Justice.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman