Former Belgian minister takes Turkish regime to the International Court

The complaint speaks of 200,000 victims of torture, disappearances, incarceration and convictions without due process.

The alleged crimes took place in Turkey, a country that doesn’t recognise the ICC, but also in 45 other countries including Belgium.

Former Belgian minister takes Turkish regime to the International Court

Former Belgian cabinet minister Johan Vande Lanotte has joined the Turkey Tribunal charity, (an opinion tribunal), and the European association of magistrates Medel to file a case against the regime of Turkish President Erdogan at the ICC, the International Criminal Court.  They are accusing the Turkish government of crimes against humanity.

The complaint speaks of 200,000 victims of torture, disappearances, incarceration and convictions without due process.  The alleged crimes took place in Turkey, a country that doesn’t recognise the ICC, but also in 45 other countries including Belgium.

VSAdvocaten, the Ghent-based law firm Mr Vande Lanotte works for, collected detailed witness statements from 1,300 alleged victims. 4,000 pages of documents have been handed to the ICC prosecutor.  The lawyers claim the regime organised systematic attacks on the civilian population to promote government policies.  The allegations are weighty and according to the lawyers show conscious contempt of basic principles of international law.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan will now have to decide whether an investigation is opened.  The ICC that is based in the Hague (The Netherlands) was set up two decades ago to try suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr Vande Lanotte acknowledges the complaint doesn’t specify who exactly is to blame, President Erdogan or others: “In law that is a matter for the prosecutor”.  The complaint states that high-ranking officials of a NATO ally with political or administrative powers may be involved.

Prof Marc Bossuyt of the Turkey Tribunal says the complaint shouldn’t be seen as a hostile act targeting Turkey or as a show of support for a failed coup.  “This amounts to support for all those suffering as a result of serious human rights’ violations” says Bossuyt.

Mr Vande Lanotte notes the complaint is an initiative of law firm VSAdvocaten, where he works, and not of the Belgian government.

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This news was published first by VRT. 

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