Roboski and procedural rules: How the truth about a massacre was buried in the pages of history

Date01 December 2020
Published date01 December 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Roboski and procedural
rules: How the truth about
a massacre was buried in
the pages of history
Kerem Altiparmak
Ankara Bar Association, Turkey
Recently, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued an inadmissibility decision regarding the
application concerning the Roboski massacre (Selahattin Encu
¨and Others v Turkey App no 49976/16, 17
May 2018) on the grounds that domestic remedies had not been exhausted. As observed in a number of
earlier decisions, the ECtHR was resolutely confident about the decision of the Constitutional Court of
Turkey on the matter. This unwavering trust has resulted in the once-and-for-all burial of the truth
about one of the gravest massacres in the history of Turkey without a proper examination of the
allegations of the applicants. Two differing views were put forward after the ECtHR’sdecision. The first
of these argued that the dismissal of a massacre of such magnitude for procedural reasons was unac-
ceptable. Proponents of this view asserted that even if there were procedural grounds to find the
application inadmissible, this could not be sufficient justification to prevent the truth from being
revealed. Proponents of the second view argued that every court had its own procedures and that those
who did not comply had to face the consequences. This article attempts to examine the second view on
its own terms. In so doing, I will present the legal evidence and rationale showing that it is in fact the
Constitutional Court of Turkey that has violated its own procedural rules. I will also argue that despite
an acceptance of the second view, perhaps more markedly because of such acceptance, it is not possible
to bury the truth about the Roboski massacre. This discussion will be guided by a more significant
question: How is it that the Constitutional Court of Turkey made such a major procedural error in a
case of such gravity and how is it that the ECtHR was so eager to uphold the error?
Domestic remedies, gross human rights violations,ConstitutionalCourt,proceduralrules,
inadmissibility decision
Corresponding author:
Kerem Altiparmak, Ankara Bar Association, Enis Behic¸ Koryu¨rek Sokak No. 17/6 Cankaya, Ankara 06690, Turkey.
New Journal of European Criminal Law
2020, Vol. 11(4) 489–503
ªThe Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/2032284420913950

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