Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bombing error and judicial review

The decision not to pursue criminal charges following a disastrous bombing error has been taken to the Turkish Constitutional Court. Some details appear in this story, including a suggestion of retaliation against an Air Force court judge who dissented from the 2-1 decision not too press charges:
The report noted that Col. Oğuz Pürtaş, the military judge who supported the appeal, argued in his opinion that a court rather than a prosecutor's office was the correct place to rule whether or not the incident took place due to an “unavoidable mistake.” 
“The colonel with the dissenting opinion was [later] transferred to another post,” Cumhuriyet said. 
According to the report, Pürtaş argued in his opinion that the decision not to prosecute would, in the long run, damage the state and belief in justice in society. 
Dissenting judge appointed as prosecutor
Last summer, one year after the military court's decision, Pürtaş was appointed as a prosecutor at the Supreme Military Administrative Court and this was perceived as a sort of punishment, Cumhuriyet said. The two other military judges who ruled for the rejection of the appeal said in the verdict that the military officers who had ordered the air strikes had committed an “unavoidable mistake” when they mistakenly thought the villagers were terrorists. 
The military court reportedly said in its verdict that the officials committed the mistake because ahead of the bombing, the villagers continued to move toward the Turkish border despite artillery fire. The verdict also said that the villagers were moving in three separate groups spread out over one kilometer, creating the impression that it was an organized terrorist group.

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