In an important ruling today that highlights the on-going failure of Turkish authorities to address abuses by security services, the European Court of Human Rights has awarded 38 applicants more than 2.3 million Euros in non-pecuniary damage for Turkey’s bombing of villages of Kuşkonar and Koçağil in March, 1994. The bombing raid killed more than thirty people and injured many more.
The court also found in a unanimous decision that
a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of the deaths of 33 of the applicants’ close relatives and the injuries caused to three of the applicants themselves;
a further violation of Article 2 because of the extremely inadequate investigation into the incident;
a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) because the villagers had been forced to witness the deaths of their relatives and the destruction of their homes, and the Turkish government had not provided even the minimum of humanitarian aid to deal with the aftermath of the attack; and, a failure to comply with Article 38 (obligation to provide all necessary facilities for the examination of the case) because the Government had withheld vital evidence, namely the flight log of the planes which had carried out the bombing.
The court further called for the Turkish government to “further investigative
steps into the incident, with the help of the flight log, in order to identify and punish those
responsible for the bombing of the applicants’ two villages and prevent further impunity.”
Howard Eissenstat, St. Lawrence University