International Criminal Court (ICC)



Turkey is not party to the Rome Statute at present.


• Turkey has actively participated in the efforts to create an International Criminal Court (ICC) that would help to bring to justice the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

• We sincerely believe in the principles and objectives enshrined in the Statute and support the struggle against impunity for those acts, which are undoubtedly of the most pressing concern for the international community.


• Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan reaffirmed Turkey’s intention to become a party to the Rome Statute during his speech before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in October 2004.


• The Statute of the ICC was adopted at the Rome Conference in 1998, although the taking of this concept to an advanced stage is far from perfect.


• The fact that terrorism is not included as a crime under the jurisdiction of this Court is a serious omission which Turkey tried to correct during the Rome deliberations, as well as in the Preparatory Committee after September 11.


• We believe that at the review conference of the Statute to be held in 2009, this issue should be taken as a priority in light of the tragic events of the last two decades. Turkey will do its best and actively take part in the studies in this direction.


Turkey’s Legislation:


• Most of the offenses contained in the Rome Statute already constitute crimes within the scope of the Turkish Penal Code. The main issue in the incorporation of the offenses of the Statute into the Turkish Penal Code is bringing the provisions of the Penal Code more in line with the Statute, both in terms of structure and of the titles given to the specific crime categories.


• In that sense, we are reviewing our national legislation regarding crimes which fall within the jurisdiction of the Court, in order to assure that Turkey can prosecute and punish her own nationals for the crimes stipulated in the Statute, in line with the principle of “complimentarity”.


• The New Turkish Penal Code, which was adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 26 September 2004, has specific Articles, namely 76 and 77, under the titles of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity”.


• On the other hand, a working group was being formed by the Ministry of Justice with the participation of the General Staff and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the prominent academicians started its work in February 2005 with the aim of elaborating and structuring the articles related to the war crimes in the Turkish civil and military legislation in light of the Rome Statute.


• Constitutional amendments adopted by the Turkish Parliament on 7 May 2004 constitute yet another significant step forward in the political reform process taken after the endorsement of the first comprehensive package of constitutional amendments of October 2001 and seven legislative reform packages.


• These amendments, which reaffirm the political will and commitment in Turkey for EU membership, introduce new provisions on the functioning of the judiciary, the alignment of civil-military relations with European practice and strengthening of civil authority, gender equality, the status of international agreements, the death penalty and the freedom of the press.


• With these amendments, Article 38 of the Constitution, entitled “Principles related to offences and penalties”, has also been changed.


• With the first amendment, the phrase “Except for obligations arising from becoming party to the Statute of International Criminal Court” has been added to the last paragraph of the article. The amended last paragraph now reads: “No citizen shall be extradited to a foreign country on account of an offence except for obligations arising becoming party to the Statute of International Criminal Court.”


• The latest constitutional amendments pave the way for eliminating legal obstacles to accede to the Statute, as well as for increasing public awareness on the subject.


• Turkey will become a party to the Rome Statute as soon as the aforementioned necessary legal harmonizations are completed.


• We believe that the visit of President Philippe Kirsch to Turkey on 11-12 December 2006 has constituted an important step in enabling both the Court and Turkish officials to get to understand each others’ view points.


Friends of the ICC:


• In keeping with her determination to become a party to the Rome Statute, Turkey, with the invitation of Germany, became a member of the unofficial group “Friends of the ICC” and began to participate in the meetings held in New York and the Hague as of January 2004.

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