Council of State: There is ‘Neglect of Duty’ in Death of Ceylan Önkol

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  • May 15, 2019
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The Council of State has concluded that the administration has a neglect of duty in the death of 12-year-old Ceylan Önkol in Diyarbakır and ruled that the family shall also be paid non-pecuniary damages.

In the lawsuit filed against the state by the family of Önkol, the court previously ruled that the family should be paid 28 thousand 208 Turkish Lira (TRY) in pecuniary damages without giving any ruling for non-pecuniary damages. The family appealed against this verdict.

12-year-old Ceylan Önkol lost her life in a mortar shell explosion while she was pasturing her sheep in the village of Şenlik in Lice in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır on September 28, 2009.

‘The administration has a neglect of duty’

The Önkol family filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior and requested that the Ministry pay them 100 thousand TRY in pecuniary and 150 thousand TRY in non-pecuniary damages. The Diyarbakır 2nd Administrative Court rejected their request for non-pecuniary damages.

As reported by Ali Dağlar from Independent Turkish news webiste, the 10th Chamber of the Council of State has accepted the objection of the family by a majority of votes and ruled for non-pecuniary damages as well.

Concluding that “there is a neglect of duty on the part of the administration”, the Council of State has sent the file of the case to the Diyarbakır 2nd Administrative Court for retrial.

What happened?

Ceylan Önkol lost her life in an explosion while she was pasturing sheep in Hambaz (Xambaz) hamlet of Şenlik village in Turkey’s southeastern Lice district in Diyarbakır province on September 28, 2009.

Her body was left at the scene for six hours, the prosecutor went to crime scene for investigation only three days later due to “life safety”.

Democratic Society Party (DTP) Diyarbakır MP Gültan Kışanak demanded answers from then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding the death of Ceylan Önkol.

The Human Rights Association (İHD) voiced their concerns that Önkol might have been killed by being targeted.

On October 19, 2009 Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul MP Çetin Soysal applied to the Head of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission to clarify Önkol’s death.

In August 2010, Forensic Medicine expert Prof. Biçer prepared the first independent report on the death Önkol upon the request of the Önkol family lawyers. According to the report prepared by Prof. Ümit Biçer, Önkol did not set off a bomb on the field by hitting it with a knife but to the contrary died in a position of defence.

Önkol’s family applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which announced its verdict on January 17, 2017 and ruled that there was no violation in terms of effective investigation and the right to live.

On April 30, 2014, the Lice Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office concluded that the evidence and reports in the case file were not sufficient to identify the perpetrators and issued a “permanent search warrant.” Lawyers of the family are concerned that the cse might be dropped due to a violation of statute of limitations.