UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference from Turkey, U.S.

UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference from Turkey, U.S. – Ahval

A senior judge resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague on Monday citing “shocking” political interference from the United States and Turkey, the Guardian reported.

German judge Christoph Flügge claimed Ankara had earlier made “baseless” allegations to end the tenure of a Turkish judge sitting on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals UN court, in a move the UN turned a blind eye to.

Flügge also alleged that the US had threatened judges after moves were made to examine the conduct of U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

Aydın Sefa Akay was removed from duty following his arrest and subsequent release over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which Ankara designates a terrorist organisation and accuses of orchestrating the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

“Turkey applied its veto against Judge Akay,” the Guardian quoted Flügge as saying. “We, the other judges, immediately protested. But his tenure was nevertheless not extended by the UN secretary general. And with that, he’s gone.”

Flügge, a permanent judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since 2008, told Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper that these developments led him to the conclusion that the “diplomatic world” saw no value in an independent judiciary.

Warning that the UN’s blind eye to Turkey’s intervention set an alarming precedent, Flügge said, “Every incident in which judicial independence is breached is one too many,” adding, “Now there is this case, and everyone can invoke it in the future. Everyone can say: ‘But you let Turkey get its way.’ This is an original sin. It can’t be fixed.”

Ankara has implemented a world wide crackdown on supporters of the Gülen movement since the failed putsch, in which hundreds of people were killed.

More than 77,000 people have been jailed, pending trial, while another 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs – including civil servants and military personnel – over links to the group.

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