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Liability and Sanctions

Selim Sadak and Others v Turkey (no 2), 11 June 2002 [ECtHR]

Cases nos 25144/94, 26149/95 to 26154/95, 27100/95 and 27101/95

36.  In the instant case it must be noted that the reasons given by the Constitutional Court in its judgment of 16 June 1994 ordering the dissolution of the DEP related to speeches given when abroad by the former chairman of the party and a written declaration made by the party's central committee. Following the party's dissolution and pursuant to the provisions of the law on political parties and Article 84 § 3 of the Constitution, which at the material time provided a system for the automatic forfeiture of parliamentary office, the applicants, who were members of parliament and the DEP, were forced to vacate their parliamentary seats.
37.  To assess the proportionality of that measure, the Court considers it important to note that as a result of the amendment to Article 84 § 5 of the Constitution, only the seat of a member of parliament whose words and deeds have, according to the Constitutional Court's judgment, led to the dissolution of his party must be forfeited (see Article 84 § 3 of the Constitution in force at the material time). In the instant case, the forfeiture of the applicants' parliamentary seats was the consequence of the dissolution of the political party of which they were members and occurred regardless of their personal political activities.
38.  The Court notes the extreme harshness of the measure in question. The DEP was immediately and permanently dissolved and the applicants, who had been DEP MPs, were prohibited from engaging in their political activities and could no longer fulfil their mandate.
39.  The Court considers in this connection that the nature and severity of the interferences are factors to be taken into account when assessing their proportionality (see, for example, Sürek v. Turkey (no. 1) [GC], no. 26682/95, § 64, ECHR 1999-IV).
40.  Having regard to all of the above considerations, the Court concludes that the penalty imposed on the applicants by the Constitutional Court cannot be regarded as proportionate to any legitimate aim relied on by the Government. The Court therefore considers that the measure in question was incompatible with the very substance of the applicants' right to be elected and sit in parliament under Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 and infringed the sovereign power of the electorate who elected them as members of parliament.
It follows that there has been a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 in the instant case.
41.  The applicants alleged that the forfeiture of their parliamentary seats following the dissolution of the DEP by the Constitutional Court had infringed their right to freedom of association under Article 11 of the Convention ...
47. .  Having regard to its conclusion as to compliance with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, the Court does not consider it necessary to examine these complaints.
48.  The applicants alleged that they had been unjustly deprived of the benefit of their parliamentary remuneration in breach of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 ...
49.  It should be pointed out that the measures about which the applicants complained were the secondary effects of the forfeiture of their parliamentary seats, which has been found by the Court to constitute a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1. Consequently, there is no need to examine that complaint separately.

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Jurisprudence

Members - Belonging or supporting an illegal organization Liability of members Sanctions NGO - Suspension of activities Members - Breach of fax regulation Members - Defamatory publication Members - Breach of rules on statements to press Members - Loss of parliament any seats following party's dissolution Officials - Failure to annul memberships Officials - participation in unlawful meeting NGO - Listing as terrorist organisation