Kaya and Kurt v Turkey: a Case Report
Kurdish Human Rights Project
The case of Kaya v. Turkey arose with the killing of the applicant’s brother by the security forces in southeast Turkey. In Kurt v. Turkey the disappearance of the applicant’s son, after military operations in southeast Turkey, led to the complaint. In both cases the victims of the alleged human rights violations were Turkish nationals of Kurdish origin.
These cases have two notable features in common. First, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) in each case emphasises the importance of national remedies. The European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) sets out the mutual obligations of States and their citizens in relation to national remedies. Article 26 of the Convention obliges applicants to exhaust domestic remedies before bringing their complaints before the Convention organs. Article 6 provides that States must allow their citizens access to a civil court for a remedy in respect of a violation of their human rights and article 13 provides that States must ensure effective remedies for all the rights set forth in the Convention.
In both Kaya and Kurt the applicants complained that there was no effective domestic remedy, or system of remedies, available in Turkey which would establish the truth of the event in question. This raised for consideration the relation between articles 6 and 13 of the Convention. In assessing whether or not there had been a failure to provide access to a civil court for the purposes of article 6(1), the Court observed that the manner in which the investigating authorities treated the death of the applicant’s brother had had an impact on the applicant’s access to the courts. Given this situation, the Court reasoned that it was appropriate to deal with the article 6 complaint ...