Turkey's top court says rights of Soma mining disaster victims violated
Turkey’s Constitutional Court said that the Labor and Social Security Ministry’s refusal to give permission to prosecutors to initiate an investigation against mining inspectors for their suspected role in the 2014 Soma disaster was a violation of the victims’ rights.
Turkey's Constitutional Court said in a decision that the Labor and Social Security Ministry's refusal to give permission to prosecutors to initiate an investigation against state mining inspectors for their suspected role in the 2014 Soma mine disaster was a violation of the victims' rights.
Thetop court recalled in its ruling published in the Official Gazette onMarch 9 that prosecutors in the case commissioned a detailed expertreport on the disaster -- which killed 301 miners in the western townof Soma in the Manisa province on May 13, 2014.
Apartfrom the mining company, the 2015-dated expert report also attributedresponsibility for the disaster to state inspectors and institutionswith monitoring powers responsible for multiple failures in theirduty of oversight.
Despite the expert report, the Labor and Social Security Ministry however did not give a green light to prosecutors to launch a criminal investigation against state inspectors.
Theministry's move prompted the victims' families to file individualapplications to the Constitutional Court saying that the lack of athorough investigation constituted a violation of the right to life.
The top court said in its decision that the authorities' withholding permission to pursue an investigation into public officials whose “negligence has been determined with expert reports” was a violation of the Article 17 of the Constitutional Law which says “Everyone has the right to life and the right to protect and develop his material and spiritual entity.”
Thetop court sent a copy of its decision to the Labor and SocialSecurity Ministry as well as to local courts for the investigationprocess to be launched.