Mustafa Tunç and Fecire Tunç v. Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights will be holding a hearing for the case of Mustafa Tunç and Fecire Tunç v. Turkey on April 16, 2014.  This case involves the death of Cihan Tunç, who was born in 1983 and died on February 13, 2004.  Before his death, Cihan Tunç was doing his military service in Kocaköy, which was a site for a private oil company whose security service was run by the national gendarmerie.  While on duty, he was fatally injured by gunfire.  He was brought to a hospital.  However, he died shortly after his arrival.  There was a judicial investigation into the matter.  The investigation revealed that the cause of death was most likely an accidental death rather than suicide or murder.  According to experts, Cihan Tunç may have been playing with his weapon and upon getting up his hand accidentally pressed the trigger.  As a result, in June 2004, the prosecutor discontinued proceedings because no party could be held responsible for Cihan Tunç’s death.

The applicants for this case to the European Court of Human Rights are Cihan Tunç’s parents.  They complained that the authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into their son’s death.  The applicants rely on Article 2, which is the right to life.  The applicants claim that the judicial authorities involved in the investigation were not given independence to carry out the investigation.  On June 25, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights in its Chamber Judgment held that there was a violation of Article 2.  The applicants were jointly awarded EUR 10,000 for non-pecuniary damages and EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses.  At the request of the Turkish government, however, on November 4, 2013, this case was referred to the Grand Chamber.

How do you think this case should turn out?  How do you think this case will turn out?  Was there a violation of Article 2?  Was there an ineffective investigation?  Does there need to be a more extensive investigation into this matter?

Image: Google

Source: ECHR

2 comments

  1. As far as I know, Turkey has a bad reputation with respect to insufficient investigation in criminal or civil matters. Concerning this particular case, I must say that more details are needed to predict how the case should or will come out. As stated above, the investigation revealed that the cause of death was “most likely” an accidental death rather than suicide or murder. The degree of “most likely” should definitely be over 90% to infer that it was an accident. Further, we do not know how much discovery was done during the investigation. Given the facts, it is hard to predict the outcome of the case. However, I believe there is a high possibility that the Grand Chamber could simply affirm the decision finding a violation of Article 2. With respect to investigation, it is always better come up with “more concrete results” than “less or insufficient results.” The investigation should have been conducted in a way that left no suspicion as to the cause of death. In this regard, extensive investigation is a “must” in any matter.

  2. I think that this case needs to have a more thorough investigation. There are many facts that are missing and seem to be lacking. I would like to know whether it was his gun that went off or if there was another person on duty whose weapon was accidentally discharged. I would also like to know where he was shot because this could be a good indication as to whether the bullet that killed him was deliberate or unintentional. I think it is interesting that the judicial investigation even mentioned suicide or murder. What made them rule out the possibility for suicide? I would also like to know why they held that it was not murder. I find it suspicious that the experts stated that Cihan was playing with his weapon. If a person is in the military I would think that they knew better than to play with a weapon.

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