The Decision on Obviating Investigations (CPC Art. 158/6)Berrin Akbulut
Through the provision in paragraph 6 of Article 158 of the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), public prosecutors have the authority to issue the decision on obviating an investigation (DOOI), as clearly regulated in the Turkish legislation. This decision accepts that no investigation shall be conducted regarding abstract, general, or non-criminal denunciations and complaints, thus preventing a person from being named a suspect and having protective measures applied against them. Article 158/6 of the CPC attempts to protect individuals’ right to a good reputation and seeks to ensure their legal security. The opportunity to object to a DOOI was additionally introduced to the denouncer and complainant in accordance with Article 173 of the CPC in order to prevent arbitrary behaviors from public prosecutors. The practice of recording all transactions and decisions made in the private system has been adopted, and these records can only be seen by a court, judge, and/or public prosecutor. This study will reveal the positive aspects and deficiencies of the introduced provisions and explain the criticisms regarding the doctrine and the approach of the practice to the case.
Soruşturma Yapılmasına Yer Olmadığı Kararı (CMK m. 158/6)Berrin Akbulut
Ceza Muhakemesi Kanunu’nun (CMK) 158. maddesinin 6. fıkrasında yer alan hükümle mevzuatımızda Cumhuriyet savcılarına soruşturma yapılmasına yer olmadığı kararı (SYOK) verme yetkisi açıkça düzenlemeye kavuşturulmuştur. Mevzuatımızda kabul edilen soruşturma yapılmasına yer olmadığı kararıyla, soyut ve genel ihbar ve şikayetlerle veya açıkça suç oluşturmayan ihbarlar ve şikâyetlerle ilgili soruşturma açılmayacağı kabul edilmiş, dolayısıyla da soruşturma açılmayacağı için kişiye şüpheli sıfatı verilmesi ve hakkında koruma tedbirlerine başvurulması imkanı engellenmiştir. Ceza Muhakemesi Kanunu’nun 158. maddesinin 6. fıkrasıyla kişilerin lekelenmeme hakkı korunmaya çalışılmış, hukuk devleti ilkesi çerçevesinde ifade edilen hukuki güvenlikleri sağlanmak istenmiştir. Ayrıca Cumhuriyet savcılarının keyfi davranmasının engellenmesi için verilen soruşturma yapılmasına yer olmadığı kararlarına karşı ihbar ve şikayet eden tarafından Ceza Muhakemesi Kanunu’nun 173. maddedeki usule göre itiraz edilmesi imkanı getirilmiştir. Ceza Muhakemesi Kanunu’nun 158. maddesinin 6. fıkrasında, bu fıkra uyarınca yapılan tüm işlem ve verilen kararların da bunlara mahsus sisteme kaydedilmesi düzenlenerek bu kayıtların ancak mahkeme, hakim ve Cumhuriyet savcısı tarafından görülmesi benimsenmiştir. Soruşturma yapılmasına yer olmadığı kararı isimli bu çalışmada Ceza Muhakemesi Kanunu’nun 158. maddesinin 6. fıkrasıyla getirilen hükümlerin mevzuatımız açısından olumlu yönleri, eksiklikleri ortaya konulacak, doktrindeki eleştiriler ve uygulamanın olaya yaklaşımı açıklanacaktır.
The decision on obviating investigations (CPC Art. 158/6) was first added to Turkish law through Article 145 of Decree Law No. 694 dated August 15, 2017 and enacted through Article 140 of Law No. 7078 dated February 1, 2018. In fact, even if this regulation had not been enacted, prosecutors would be required to consider any denunciation or complaint insufficient for launching an investigation in the absence of a situation providing the impression of a crime having been committed within the framework of the right to a good reputation, the principle of a fair trial, and the provision of individuals’ legal security in accordance with Article 160/1 of the CPC. However, the high number of decisions on obviating investigations in practice showed that this procedure was not always followed. Naming a person as a suspect and taking protective measures against them have been prevented due to DOOI accepting that investigations cannot be launched regarding abstract, general, or non-criminal denunciations and complaints. Initiating an investigation, naming a person as a suspect, and taking certain actions against said person in the absence of simple suspicion or the fact that an act does not constitute a crime violates the right to a good reputation and the person’s presumption of innocence. The legislator enacted the said regulation in order to eliminate these drawbacks.
As per the regulation in Article 158/6 of the CPC, a preliminary evaluation phase is brought to the investigation phase. At this stage, the public prosecutor must evaluate whether the denunciation or complaint constitutes a crime and whether it has a general and abstract nature and then decide whether to launch an investigation as a result of the evaluation.
As per Article 158/6 of the CPC, the regulation has been made that the decision not to carry out an investigation shall be notified to the denouncer or the complainant, if any, who may then appeal to the Criminal Court of Peace in the jurisdiction where the High Criminal Court is located and where public prosecutor who made the decision in accordance with the procedure in Article 173 holds office. In order to prevent the arbitrary behavior of public prosecutors, the denouncer or the complainant has been given the right to object to the DOOI. After the decision is made in favor of obviating an investigation and whether the decision is objected to (Article 173/4, 6) or not (Article 158/6), no statement is found in Article 158/6 of the CPC to clarify the conditions under which an investigation may be relaunched in relation to an act that has been the subject of a denunciation and/or complaint. Article 158/6 of the CPC also contains no regulation regarding notification of the person about whom a denunciation or complaint has been made or regarding the authority to access the records kept, to request their deletion and correction, or to be informed of this judicial process in case the decision is appealed.
Article 158/6 of the CPC also regulates that the actions taken and decisions made are to be recorded in a system specifically for this, with the stipulation that these records may only be viewed by the public prosecutor, judge, or court. The registration system as regulated by Article 158/6 of the CPC will play an important role in preventing different prosecutors from making the same or different decisions in cases where the same denunciation or complaint is made repeatedly to the system.
Article 158/6 of the CPC is a regulation that has been introduced to prevent investigations regarding each denunciation and complaint and to protect individuals’ right to a good reputation; however, this provision also has problems because the regulation allows records to be kept of each crime with no distinction being made regarding the nature of the crimes. In addition, registrations can be made in this system specific to the regulation for general and abstract denunciations, as well as for denunciations and complaints made due to acts that do not clearly constitute a crime or an act that has not occurred. Such an arrangement contradicts the protection of personal data and the right to a good reputation. The regulation also does not specify how long these records will be kept. Keeping records in the system indefinitely, even when only a limited number of people can view them, is contrary to the rights to a good reputation and protection of personal data. A time limit should be introduced, and at the very least a determination should be made in this regard based on the statute of limitations.