Enforced Disappearance Legal Database

Akdeniz v. Turkey

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Duty to Investigate | Guarantees Against Impunity | Punishment | Relatives as Victims | Effective Remedy

The Court confirmed that the amount of time passed since the victim was last seen, the life threatening nature of the unacknowledged detention, and evidence of widespread impunity were factors for the Court to consider when determining whether the victim could be presumed dead while in state detention. The Court also provided a detailed overview of the elements required for an investigation under Article 2 to be considered effective and noted with concern the failure of the authorities to question the soldiers and commanders in charge of the operation. Finally the Court found that an effective remedy as enshrined in Article 13, requires the authorities undertake "a thorough and effective investigation capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible and including effective access for the relatives to the investigatory procedure" as well as compensation to the relatives.

Judgment Date

May 31, 2005

Country

Turkey

Judicial Body

European Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 2 (substantive) [ECHR], Article 2 (procedural) [ECHR], Article 3 [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR], Article 13 [ECHR]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 6 [ECHR], Article 14 [ECHR]

Facts of the Case

On 20 February 1994, approximately 200 Turkish soldiers entered the village where the Akdeniz family was residing and forced the villagers out of their homes. The villagers were herded together into the village square and the soldiers began to burn the villagers’ houses. Mr. Mehdi Akdeniz was one of six villagers who was taken into custody by the soldiers. Eye-witness testimony showed that he had been tortured while in detention. His fate remained unknown to his relatives as of the date of the judgment.

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