The First Judicial Conference of Constitutional and Supreme Courts/Councils of the OIC Member/Observer States Ended

The First Judicial Conference of Constitutional and Supreme Courts/Councils of the OIC Member/Observer States ended with the closing remarks of President of the Turkish Constitutional Court, Mr. Zühtü Arslan and the adoption of the “Istanbul Declaration”.

After the opening program on the morning, the following sessions were moderated by the Turkish Constitutional Court’s Vice-President Prof. Dr. Mr. Engin Yıldırım and Justice Mr. Hasan Tahsin Gökcan respectively for the sessions on “The Rule of Law and Human Rights in the Practice of Constitutional Justice” and “Upholding the Rule of Law and Human Rights through Supreme Adjudication”.

The session on “Global and Domestic Dynamics in Protecting the Rule of Law and Human Rights” moderated by Mr. Justice Kadir Özkaya was held on the second day.

The Conference ended with the closing remarks of the President of the Turkish Constitutional Court Mr. Zühtü Arslan and the adoption of the “Istanbul Declaration”.

Istanbul Declaration

Through this declaration, representatives of Constitutional and Supreme Courts/Councils of OIC Member/Observer States declared their commitment to the rule of law, human rights and universal law principles. The Declaration states:

“We recognize the dire need for respect of the fundamental human rights and freedoms and call world nations to take necessary steps to ensure full enjoyment of rights and freedoms by all individuals. We express deep concern over widespread xenophobic and Islamophobic discourses and practices as well as terrorist activities undermining the promotion of a dignified life for all humanity and peaceful coexistence of all religions and beliefs. In light of the valuable remarks and fruitful discussions throughout the Conference, we conclude that the principle of the rule of law and human rights constitute the key pillars of a just legal order. The constitutional and supreme jurisdictions play a central role in upholding the rule of law and human rights against undue intrusions.”

The Declaration emphasizes the importance of the establishment of a judicial forum among the constitutional and supreme courts/councils of the OIC member states in order to exchange information and experiences and to improve cooperation. It is accordingly stated therein:

“The Heads/Representatives of the Courts/Councils and Equivalent Institutions of the Member States of OIC present at the Conference recognize the need for greater cooperation and agree in principle to;

  • Convene regular conferences in order to discuss constitutional and human rights matters […],
  • Form a Working Committee at expert-level consisting of Turkey, Indonesia, Algeria, Pakistan, Gambia […],
  • Preparation of a report on the possibilities to improve cooperation by this Working Committee to be submitted to the respective Courts,
  • Hold the next Conference in 2020 in Indonesia under patronage of Indonesian Constitutional Court.”

Click here for the "Istanbul Declaration".

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