Harmonization bill set to change justice system

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By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA

 Turkey’s government submitted a bill on Wednesday to bring Turkey’s justice system in line with constitutional reforms passed in an April referendum.

The 51-article harmonization package proposes changes to the Military Code of Justice, Judges and Prosecutors Law, Constitutional Court, Council of State, and Supreme Court.

After being debated by Parliament’s Justice Committee, the bill will go to the general assembly for debate.

Under the amendments, military personnel will be tried in civil courts.

Moreover, the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors is set to be renamed the Council of Judges and Prosecutors.

Under the changes, the Constitutional Court will have the jurisdiction to try the president; parliament speaker; deputies of the president; government ministers; members of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and Council State; chief public prosecutors and their deputies; members of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors; the president and members of the Court of Auditors; and the chief of General Staff and branch commanders of the Turkish Armed Forces.

According to the bill, trials of the chief of General Staff or branch commanders and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) head will subject to presidential authorization.

The constitutional changes were first passed by Parliament in an 18-article bill in January, and then approved in a referendum on April 16.

The changes hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president and eliminate the post of prime minister, and also allow the president to retain ties to a political party.

Other changes include lowering the minimum age for parliamentary candidates to 18 and increasing the number of deputies to 600.




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