European Court of Human Rights
Press release issued by the Registrar
Chamber judgments concerning Andorra, Hungary, Finland, France, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden and Turkey
Press release – 574(2006)
Çomak v. Turkey (no. 225/02) Violation of Article 6 § 1 (fairness)
The applicant, İlhan Çomak, is a Turkish national who was born in 1973.
The applicant was arrested in August 1994 on suspicion of belonging to the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), an organisation proscribed under Turkish law. Criminal proceedings were instituted against him. On 31 October 2000 Istanbul State Security Court convicted him of separatist activities and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Relying on Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial), the applicant alleged that his case had not been examined by an independent and impartial tribunal on account of the presence of a military judge among the members of the state security court.
The Court reiterated that civilians standing trial for offences under the Criminal Code had legitimate reason to fear that a state security court which included a military judge among its members might not be independent and impartial. Accordingly, the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a breach of Article 6 § 1 and awarded the applicant EUR 1,000 for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in French.)