EIT: Turkkilaisen tuomarin nuhteleminen lehtiartikkelin jakamisesta Facebookissa loukkasi sananvapautta.

3.3.2022 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

Judge reprimanded for sharing press article on Facebook: violation of freedom of expression

In Chamber judgment in the case of Kozan v. Turkey (application no. 16695/19) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

  • a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and
  • a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 10.

The case concerned a disciplinary sanction (reprimand) imposed on Mr Kozan, a serving judge, for having shared in May 2015, in a private Facebook group, a press article headed “Judicial
rehabilitation for closing the 17 December investigation, dismissal for conducting the investigation”, without posting any comment himself.

The Court found that the press article in question was part of a debate of particular interest for members of the judiciary, since it concerned the impartiality and independence of judges vis-à-vis the executive with respect to events surrounding proceedings for suspected corruption dating from the period 17-25 December 2013 and the government’s opposition to those proceedings. The fact that a judge had shared with his colleagues certain views in the press about the independence of the justice system, and had allowed them to comment in response, had necessarily fallen within his freedom to impart or receive information in a crucial area for his professional life. The Court also observed that the Council of Judges and Prosecutors had not appropriately weighed in the balance the applicant’s freedom of expression on the one hand and his duty of discretion as judge on the other. It further reiterated that the Council was a non-judicial organ and that the proceedings before its Chamber and Plenary Assembly did not afford the safeguards of judicial review. Moreover, no judicial remedy had been available to the applicant in respect of the measure taken against him by the Council. The disciplinary sanction imposed on him had not met any pressing social need and, consequently, had not constituted a measure that was “necessary in a democratic society”.

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