Osman Kavala v. Turkey: unravelling the Matryoshka dolls

By Emre Turkut (PhD Researcher at Ghent University and DAAD Visiting Fellow at the Hertie School in Berlin)

On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) delivered its much-awaited decision in the case of Osman Kavala v. Turkey, an application lodged by a human rights defender and philanthropist to challenge his arbitrary arrest and subsequent placement in pre-trial detention in relation to the Gezi Park events and the 15 July 2016 attempted coup. The application had been pending before Strasbourg since 8 June 2018. In line with its priority policy that has been previously implemented in the group of cases concerning detained journalists and academics in Turkey, the Court decided to grant priority to Osman Kavala’s case on 23 August 2018 and it was hence communicated to Turkey on 30 August 2018. In its judgment, the ECtHR found several violations (see below). Arguably, the finding of an Article 18 violation in conjunction with Article 5(1) (c), among other violations, is the most significant part of the judgment and yet comes as no surprise. Following the Court’s earlier ruling in Selahattin Demirtas v. Turkey, this makes it the second Article 18 case decided against Turkey, which adds to the steady evolution of the burgeoning case law (see, inter alia, the Grand Chamber’s Merabishvili v. Georgia). Continue reading

Merabishvili, Mammadov and Targeted Criminal Proceedings: Recent Developments under Article 18 ECHR

By Corina Heri, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam

On 28 November, the Grand Chamber issued a judgment in Merabishvili v. Georgia. Twelve days earlier, the Fifth Section issued its judgment in Ilgar Mammadov (No. 2) v. Azerbaijan. Both judgments concern, among other provisions of the ECHR, its often-overlooked Article 18, which prohibits States from restricting Convention rights for illegitimate purposes. The Court has increasingly displayed an awareness of the need to clarify and amend its Article 18 case-law, as shown by the wealth of separate opinions written on the matter,[1] and it took Merabishvili as an opportunity to do so. This post looks at the Article 18 issues raised in the two judgments, and fits these into the steady and necessary, although incomplete, evolution of the Article 18 case-law. Continue reading