The Turkish judge Aydin Sefa Akay lost his job in the Hague because the UN secretary-general did not reappoint him due to the pressure from Ankara, after his conviction of belonging to a ‘terrorist organisation’ that, allegedly is behind the failed coup in 2016, in Turkey.
The president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Theodor Meron described his colleague’s removal a “dangerous precedent”.
“I express deep regret regarding, and respectful disagreement with, the decision not to reappoint my valued and esteemed colleague, Judge Akay, and my grave concerns about the far-reaching consequences this decision will have for our institution and for international criminal justice more generally.”
Theodor Meron added: “The acquiescence to the position advanced by the Government of Turkey represents a de facto acceptance of a state’s actions undertaken in contravention of the diplomatic immunity asserted by the United Nations.
If states are permitted to take action against a judge in violation of the applicable international legal framework, judicial independence – a cornerstone principle of the rule of law – and the integrity of our court as such are fundamentally at risk, as is the overall project of international criminal justice.”
Judge Akay was convicted by a Turkish court earlier this month of belonging to FETO, an organisation led by exiled (in the States) cleric Fethullah Gulen. Ankara claims he and FETO’s members are behind the coup having orchestrated it and consider it a terrorist group.
Akay was sentenced to a seven-and-a-half years imprisonment. Although the UN was under pressure and did not reappoint him to his position, they do regard his arrest and conviction “as a breach of the diplomatic immunity that the judge enjoys due to his position at the international judicial body”, BIRN reads.
Using ByLock, an encrypted messenging application “that the Turkish government believes was used by Gulen supporters for plotting to subvert the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan”, caused Akay’s present problems.
BIRN reports that Akay denies any wrongdoing and will appeal against his conviction…. / IBNA