THIRD SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 6636/02 
by Selman SERTTEPE and Others 
against Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 9 February 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr B. M. Zupančič, President
 Mr L. Caflisch
 Mr R. Türmen
 Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska
 Mr V. Zagrebelsky
 Mrs A. Gyulumyan, 
 Mr David Thór Björgvinsson, judges
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 7 January 2002,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,

Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicants, Mr Selman Serttepe, Mr Cabbar Gülşen, Mr Serdar Sarıgül, Mr Beyazıt Durmuş, Mr Özcan Özkan, Mr Yaser Hamiş, Mr Abdülkadir Çevik, Mr Ali Yalçın Gürbüz, Mr Ahmet Kamışlı, Mr Hasan Davulcu, Mr Mehmet Alyar, Mr Hayrettin Kaya, Mr Adem Kütük, Mr Veli Karadede, Mr Şahin Sarı, Mr Veyis Sami Türkmen, Mr İbrahim Kürekçi, Mr Ali Uçak, Mr Hasan Sarıkaya, Mr Mahmut Mustafa Ücal, Mr Gürhan Durmaz, Mr Zeynel Ordözü, Mr Ali Fuat Paşa Elibol, Mr Hüseyin Parlakfikirler, Mr Kemal Ertürk, Mr Ziya Arıkan, Mr Mentize Çökük and Mr Ali Elbiare, are Turkish nationals who reside in Adana. They are represented before the Court by Ms Elif Doğan Türkmen and Mr Bülent Maraklı, lawyers practising in Adana.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

The applicants, who were suspected of being members of the illegal organisation the Dev-Yol (Revolutionary Way) and of taking part in the illegal activities of this organisation, were taken into police custody on various days between 1980 and 1981. They were subsequently placed in detention on remand on the order of the Adana Martial Law Court.

On 10 June 1981 the Adana Military Public Prosecutor instituted criminal proceedings against altogether 270 defendants including the applicants.

In 1981 the applicants’ trial began before the Adana Martial Law Court. All of the applicants were released pending trial. On 17 June 1986 the Adana Martial Law Court convicted the applicants of the charges against them.

The applicants appealed. On 20 March 1991 the Military Court of Cassation quashed the decision of the Adana Martial Law Court and the case was remitted before the Ankara Martial Law Court for further examination.

Following promulgation of the Law of 27 December 1993, which abolished the jurisdiction of the martial law courts, the case was transferred to a non-military court, namely the Ankara Assize Court.

On 8 June 2001 Ankara Assize Court delivered its judgment. It convicted five of the applicants namely, Zeynel Ordözü, Yaser Hamiş, Ziya Arıkan, Serdar Sarıgül and Ali Elbi pursuant to Article 146 of the Criminal Code. The court further acquitted Selman Serttepe, Özcan Özkan, Hasan Davulcu, Mehmet Alyar, Adem Kütük, Veli Karadede, Şahin Sarı, İbrahim Kürekçi, Gürhan Durmaz and Kemal Ertürk of the charges against them.

The criminal proceedings against Ali Fuat Paşa Elibol, Mentize Cökük and Abdülkadir Cevik were terminated as the statutory time-limit under Article 102 of the Criminal Code had expired.

The remaining applicants, namely Cabbar Gülsen, Beyazıt Durmuş, Ali Yalçın Gürbüz, Ahmet Kamışlı, Hayrettin Kaya, Veyis Sami Türkmen, Ali Uçak, Hasan Sarıkaya and Mahmut Mustafa Ücal, were acquitted of some of the charges against them. Concerning the remaining charges that had been brought against these applicants, the court decided to terminate the proceedings as the statutory time-limit under Article 102 of the Criminal Code had expired.

The judgment of the Ankara Assize Court was notified to the applicants on 11 December 2001. The five applicants, who were convicted, filed an appeal with the Court of Cassation.

COMPLAINT

The applicants complain that the criminal proceedings brought against them were not concluded within a reasonable time as required by Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

THE LAW

On 14 December 2005 the Court received the following declaration, signed by the applicants’ representative:

“In my capacity as the representative of the applicants, Mr Selman Serttepe, Mr Cabbar Gülşen, Mr Serdar Sarıgül, Mr Beyazıt Durmuş, Mr Özcan Özkan, Mr Yaser Hamiş, Mr Abdülkadir Çevik, Mr Ali Yalçın Gürbüz, Mr Ahmet Kamışlı, Mr Hasan Davulcu, Mr Mehmet Alyar, Mr Hayrettin Kaya, Mr Adem Kütük, Mr Veli Karadede, Mr Şahin Sarı, Mr Veyis Sami Türkmen, Mr İbrahim Kürekçi, Mr Ali Uçak, Mr Hasan Sarıkaya, Mr Mahmut Mustafa Ücal, Mr Gürhan Durmaz, Mr Zeynel Ordözü, Mr Ali Fuat Paşa Elibol, Mr Hüseyin Parlakfikirler, Mr Kemal Ertürk, Mr Ziya Arıkan, Mr Mentize Çökük and Mr Ali Elbi, I note that the Government of Turkey are prepared to pay EUR 17,500 (seventeen thousand five hundred euros) to each of the applicants covering pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

Having duly consulted the applicants, I accept that offer and they, in consequence, waive all other claims against the Republic of Turkey in respect of the matters that were at the origin of the application. We declare that the case has been settled finally ...

This declaration is made within the scope of the friendly settlement which the Government and I, in agreement with the applicants, have reached. ”

On 8 December 2005 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:

“I declare that, with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case, the Government of Turkey offer to pay ex gratia EUR 17,500 (seventeen thousand and five hundred euros) to each of the applicants, Mr Selman Serttepe, Mr Cabbar Gülşen, Mr Serdar Sarıgül, Mr Beyazıt Durmuş, Mr Özcan Özkan, Mr Yaser Hamiş, Mr Abdülkadir Çevik, Mr Ali Yalçın Gürbüz, Mr Ahmet Kamışlı, Mr Hasan Davulcu, Mr Mehmet Alyar, Mr Hayrettin Kaya, Mr Adem Kütük, Mr Veli Karadede, Mr Şahin Sarı, Mr Veyis Sami Türkmen, Mr İbrahim Kürekçi, Mr Ali Uçak, Mr Hasan Sarıkaya, Mr Mahmut Mustafa Ücal, Mr Gürhan Durmaz, Mr Zeynel Ordözü, Mr Ali Fuat Paşa Elibol, Mr Hüseyin Parlakfikirler, Mr Kemal Ertürk, Mr Ziya Arıkan, Mr Mentize Çökük and Mr Ali Elbi.

This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs, and it will be payable within three months from the date of the notification of the Court’s decision pursuant to the Article 37 § 1 b of the European Convention on Human Rights. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay, until settlement, simple interest on the amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.”

The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). Accordingly, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.

Vincent Berger  Boštjan M. Zupančič Registrar President

SERTTEPE AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION


SERTTEPE AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION