One of IHH lawyers, Gulden Sonmez, trial lawyers Ramazan Ariturk and Lawyers Corporation Director Cavit Tatli who presented case to the individuals responsible of Blue Marmara, have answered the questions wandered about the case
The first trial for the attack of Gaza Freedom Fleet and Blue Marmara vessel was held in 6 November in Istanbul Caglayan Court. The trial which lasted three days was postponed to 21 February.
490 relatives of passengers and martyrs composed of 37 countries, have taken place in the case as "complainant-victim”. The respondents of the case are; Israeli Chief of General Staff Rau Gabiel Ashkenazi, Naval Forces Commander Eliezer Alfred Maron, Air Forces Intelligence Commander Avishay Levi and Israeli Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin.
Israel’s history is full of tragical events as a result of using disproportionate forces. Israel, has also intervened the Freedom Fleet and caused deaths and wounds, which was a civilian initiative bringing humanitarian aid to blockaded, massacred by aerial and land assaults of Israel Gaza.
The public opinion is closely interested in this incident as part of Palestine case during which, Turkish citizens have confronted directly Israeli soldiers and lost their lives. The case presented in Turkey courts as a step to penalize the individuals responsible for this tragic incident, has come to the fore with so many question marks it carries inside.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
What was intended with this case? Was it possible to return this case’s result to a sanction against Israel? What punishments were demanded to sentence the respondents? Was a legal struggle possible in the international arena?
We posed these subjects wandered about the case to individuals directly related with it. One of IHH lawyers, Gulden Sonmez, trial lawyers Ramazan Ariturk and Lawyers Corporation Director Cavit Tatli who presented case to the individuals responsible of Blue Marmara, have answered our questions.
Lawyer Gulden Sonmez:
THE RESULT WILL BIND ISRAEL BY THE CONVENTION ON EXTRADITION
What was intended with this case? Was it possible to return this case’s result to a sanction against Israel?
By the Blue Marmara case presented in the 7. High Criminal Court of Istanbul, Turkey, it is demanded to sentence all the civilian-military individuals responsible for the attack organized to Gaza Freedom Fleet in 31 May 2010. Including all the victims of 37 countries who were present in the vessels, the relatives of martyrs and other complainants, possessing 490 complainants-victims, the accusation is subject of too many judgments of offences, voluntary manslaughter taking the first place. Turkey has all the rights to judge any kind of crime committed against its citizens anywhere on earth. Also as a requirement of the principle of territoriality in time, it has the right to judge any crime committed in Turkey. Consequently, the attack is treated as if it was committed in Turkey, since it was committed against a Turkish vessel on the trans-boundary waters, thus the criminal procedure is necessary in Turkish courts. Therefore, this is an obligation to judge the Israeli military personnel before the Turkish Punishment Courts, by the current legislations.
What kind of developments do you expect through the process of judgment began in Turkey? What kind of ways will you appeal in case the lawsuit ended up pro and con?
During the criminal case which Israeli defendants are judged, primarily by means of Justice Ministry, International Law and Foreign Affairs Directory, Israeli commanders were sent notification and were called to court cases of this lawsuit in order. It was understood from the statements made by Israel that these individuals would not attend the hearings. Consequently, at the later stage, it is expected to give capture decisions about these respondents, from Istanbul 7. High Criminal Court. These decisions will bind Israel as well, by the
conditions of "extradition”. Both Israel and Turkey are parts of the " European Convention on Extradition (ECOE-European Council Engagement No. 24)”. In this sense, Israel will have to carry out the extraditions in case of final sentence or capture judgments in Turkey, by the convention. Also, it will be possible to appeal for a seek with red notice from the General Secretary of INTERPOL (International Police Organization) by means of its Turkish unit for the performance of final capture or sentence decisions taken by 7. Istanbul High Criminal Court. In case of such events, Israel will have to deliver these defendants. As though we haven’t reached up to these phases, in case of any exit to another country from Israel, those commanders whose name is are mentioned in the punishment lawsuit, will result in the arrest and extradition of these individuals to Turkey, as a result of an appeal to the attorney generalship of those states. It is obvious from the stableness of evidences and the confessions of defendants that the defendants will be sentenced. Yet, it is necessary that the court take decision through a just judgment.
What kind of political regulations should be made over Israel for his crimes committed against both Palestinians and Gaza Fleet?
The problems originated from the war policy established by Israel through its targets and self-safety in our region and in the world, are troubles which threaten humanity and even the future generations. By its lawless manner, it also threatens everybody with not bearing any punitive responsibility until now. All the world knows the systematic abuse of rights implemented on the Palestine people. Nevertheless, neither international mechanisms including UN nor states are able to prevent this. It is not acceptable for any state to
carry on such a policy. Thus, it is unacceptable for not only Turkey but also another country to have good relations and collaboration with Israel. Israel’s isolation, and its drawn to law is a responsibility of all the states.
Lawyer Ramazan Ariturk:
THEY WERE PUT ON TRIAL FOR TORTURE, QUALIFIED ROBBERY AND THEFT
Against whom the case presented, what are the defendants being judged for and what kind of a result is expected from the case, what kind of enforcements can such a decision have if the Israeli commanders are condemned in Turkey?
The case is presented against Israeli Chief of Defense, land and air forces commanders and intelligence chiefs. The defendants are being judged for murder, seizure, hijack of marine vessels, torture, qualified robbery and theft. It is expected that the court appeals the statements of these defendants or the defendants to plead personally before the court, using their rights proffered to quittance. In case the defendants don’t use their quittance right, the court must appeal the armbands issuing a warrant of arrest about them for an international pursuit. In this sense, the study to be made by the armband must be initially writing inscriptions to our borders to get these individuals arrested if they enter or exit from our country, besides through Interpol whose center is situated in Paris, demanding the countries those are part of Paris Convention to arrest
and extradition of those criminals in case they enter, exit the country or they are found there.
As far as we know, it is not expected for any country to send back its citizens to another country, except for some situations. In this sense, it doesn’t seem possible in the current national and international law points of view to expect Israel letting its citizens to be judged sending them back to our country.
I’m of the opinion that those individuals to be sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, by somehow arresting and judging them before the 7. High Criminal Court.
By the current law of criminal procedure in our country, the case will stay open and the court will have to wait for those individuals to be arrested if statements of the defendants can’t be taken and they are not provided with sufficient defense opportunities in any case. Yet it mustn’t be forgotten; by presenting that case today, these military individuals who committed that crime are warned by a statement made by Israel Information Minister, shows that the case takes its effect even now and moreover I can express that, a good result emerged through the presentation of the acceptance of their guilty.
The case was presented in the court. I want to express that it is Turkish armbands and Interpol which will do the necessary to meet the court decision.
Lawyer Cavit Tatli:
IT WILL BE QUITE NORMAL FOR THEM TO BE CONDEMNED
Do you find the judicial initiatives sufficient, taken about the attack operated by Israel against Gaza Fleet?
We must divide the judicial initiatives and consider them in this manner: compensation law and criminal law. In the meaning of compensation law the individuals have made personal appeals and cases are presented in this manner. This process will carry on. No deficiency or retard is in question in this sense. These cases are carried out by the lawyers of individuals.
But, in the punishment case, 31 May 2010 is the date of the event and November 2012 is the date for the first trial. An investigation which lasts for 2 years. During the investigation period, more information flow could be procured with NIO, the General Staff, Domestic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and other relevant institutions, some names of the defendants could be accomplished and cases could have been presented for them as well.
Two years of duration, when the complainant number and the manner of the event is considered, the case can be reclaimed to carrying on a reasonable period. Nevertheless, as I pointed out, there are some deficiencies of institutions and the information they shared.
What kind of developments you expect during the judicial struggle in Turkey, how can the case result?
The most important point of the case, is issuing an arrest warrant for the defendants and seeking those individuals all over the world by means of Interpol. "Will a decision come from the case?" is the question, it can be responded as there is no reason to not take a decision. 9 were slaughtered. The slaughterers were rewarded. They are demonstrated on the press. No other normal outcome can be, apart from condemning those individuals.
How comes this decision converts into a sanction against the Israeli commanders in case they are condemned of this case?
We can’t be very optimistic about the sanction. Unfortunately this case is a little bit about the international public opinion. Unfortunately, it shows us the broad lobby network of Israeli state, worries of so many states from Israel, will not let the punishment possible to execute.
At least, today such an opinion is dominant. Nevertheless, the new incidents, changes in conjuncture can result in serving them their sentences. Because, this was also told that no case can be presented for them. If this case is presented today, the execution of the decision can be also possible.
How it happened to Nazis in so many countries, these individuals will be arrested in Israel brought to Turkey and the execution of their punishments will be accomplished. This is what we expect.
Has any necessary juridical struggle initiated in the context of international law, what must be done?
The international juridical struggle is also pursued not missing out any phase. As though nothing is made faultily about it, we must remember that the seek for justice is much difficult there. Because so many side factors have influence in this platform such as the lobbies, benefits, big state-small state. An area where the strong is right. The real right have to struggle his right in order to prove his legitimacy. An area where the guaranty to get the result isn’t given.