Vorteil nehmen von rechtsstaatlicher Abwesenheit daheim und rechtsstaatlicher Anwesenheit in London

Benefitting from the absence of rule-of-law in Russia and from the presence of rule-of-law in London.

An argument that Russia’s economic elites’ use of the relative safety of western countries’ financial and legal systems should depend on whether in Russia those people have participated in what would be considered lawbreaking in the western systems.

An interesting pundit said on Australian radio, for example, that money from selling exported Russian oil and gas is often moved through western financial leveraging instruments before being imported into Russia, to make it harder for that cash to be arbitrarily seized there. Even well-connected Russians are just as hostage to Vladimir Putin as the Crimean Tatars.

He said a counterargument holds that oligarchs will learn from living and working in rule-of-law countries and import some of that back to their homeland. Yet with the west’s inadequate oversight members of these groups might likewise grow corruption in their partner countries and firms. It does look as if German power utility companies who worked with post-Soviet Russian partners who demanded bribes in Russia might have started using extralegal shortcuts to achieve their goals at home; at the very least, their German competitor utilities would have had to compete with them while they were using such methods. Corruption really does seem to breed more corruption: apparently after the multinational Siemens developed streamlined procedures for paying bribes in corrupt countries it began offering them in relatively clean countries.

In a worst-case outcome, it would be interesting to see how western jurists would determine culpability in a country without an independent judiciary.

(FORE tile   nay men   fun   rect SHTOTT lichh ah   OB vaze en height   da HIME   oont   rect SHTOTT lichh ah   ON vaze en height   inn   LAWN dawn.)

Sondergerichte vs. Schwurgerichte

Special courts vs. jury courts (lit. “oath courts” because jurors are sworn in).

Apparently Turkey has been under international criticism for years for using special courts [Sondergerichte] to try serious political crimes. Now Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has announced they will be using normal Schwurgerichte [jury trials] for these crimes as well. However, the announcement comes after Mr. Erdoğan’s government made other, unhelpful changes to Turkey’s judicial system: Human Rights Watch asked Turkish President Abdullah Gül not to sign a new law passed in the second week of this month that reduced the autonomy of Turkey’s High Council of Judges and Prosecutors or H.S.Y.K., saying the law exclusively serves to increase the government’s control over that council.

The Sondergerichte/Schwurgerichte legislation package passed in the third week of this month did contain some mild improvements. In addition to eliminating special courts for trials of serious political crimes it also reduced the maximum time you can be held in Turkish prison while they’re investigating you for a crime, from 7.5 to 5 years. In future, arrest warrants and house razzias can only be executed on the basis of “concrete evidence.” Supposedly this legislation made tapping phones more difficult.

However, in the first week of this very busy February 2014, after having quickly replaced the head of Turkey’s telecommunications oversight authority, Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı, Mr. Erdoğan passed Turkey’s now notorious new Internet surveillance and censorship law that expanded the agency’s powers to collect data about people’s internet surfing and to block web pages.

In the second week of this month, fistfighting is said to have broken out in the Turkish parliament during debate over Mr. Erdoğan’s bill to get more control over the national board of prosecutors and judges, H.S.Y.K. They passed the legislation anyway. One M.P. had to go to hospital for a broken nose.

In the third week of this very busy February, the government put forward draft legislation expanding the power of the country’s National Intelligence Organization (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı or M.İ.T.). It would define prison sentences of up to 12 years as punishment for publishing secret M.İ.T. documents, for example. Update on 17 Apr 2014: The parliament passed this. Prosecutors are no longer allowed to investigate M.İ.T. agents for crimes if the agents say they were on government business. M.İ.T. is to have access to all government data, to be able to listen without a court order to phone calls inside and outside Turkey, and to be given all businesses’ data about their customers if they request it.

The brief time span in which three terrible laws were created—the drastic Internet law on 06 Feb, the kneecapping of judges and prosecutors on 15 Feb, and now this latest proposal on 21 Feb announced as democratic reforms in response to outside criticism of the Ergenekon trials—cloaked the scope of these anti-democratic changes to the rest of the world.

Turkish protesters’ anger over all the bills and the trend they indicate was easily misinterpreted by outsiders as a response to the first, internet law. Attempts to mitigate or react to one of the new terrible laws interfered with attempts to prevent the next one. The winter Olympics in Russia and the historic events in Ukraine also diverted attention from Turkish politics.

Update on 11 Apr 2014: Turkey’s Constitutional Court found the reforms unconstitutional that gave Mr. Erdoğan’s justice minister sweeping powers over the H.S.Y.K. board that appoints and fires prosecutors and judges. The F.A.Z.’s article only said the court overturned parts of this reform, however.

The prime minister’s son’s foundation received donations of >72 million euros from outside Turkey and ~10 million euros from inside Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son and daughter Bilal Erdoğan and Esra Erdoğan are members of the Türgev foundation’s management board [Vorstand]. The organization is supposed to support Turkish youth and education; the opposition C.H.P. party said it’s a corruption center where businesspeople launder bribes they have to pay to get public contracts.

(ZONE dah gr-r-r ICHH tah   vair seuss   SHVOOR gr-r-r ICHH tah.)

Befehlsnotstand

The emergency-like urgency of having to follow orders, one of several excuses 22 S.S. officers used as their defense when put on trial on
20 Dec 1963 in Frankfurt for having helped to commit mass murder at Auschwitz. “22 out of more than 8000, who together killed more than one million people,” said ZDF heute journal moderator Claus Kleber. “This trial marked the beginning of the end of the suppression of what happened during the war.”

One of many good aspects to the story of these Auschwitz trials is hearing again about the “fearless prosecutor,” Fritz Bauer, himself a concentration camp survivor. He forced people to start looking at what their government had done. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of that belated yet difficult undertaking, German news programs showed archival footage of court guards secretly saluting the defendants, the S.S. officers’ arrogant assertions that they weren’t aware what the killing machinery was for, that they’d forgotten about the deaths, that they were only following orders.

(Beh FAILS NOTE shtond.)

“In einer Demokratie akzeptiert man Urteile!”

In democracies, you accept court verdicts!” thundered Italian prime minister and lawyer Enrico Letta before the vote of confidence with which media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi’s political party tried to take down the Italian government after the cavaliere was found guilty of a criminal charge, eliminating his senatorial immunity from future prosecutions. Unexpectedly, several Berlusconi ministers broke with their party, including Mr. Berlusconi’s “Ziehson” or adopted son or protégé, Angelino Alfano.

The statement may have come from this section of Mr. Letta’s speech:

Uno stato di diritto si basa sul principio di legalità, e in uno Stato democratico le sentenze si rispettano si applicano, fermo restando il diritto alla difesa, senza trattamenti ad personam o contra personam, che va riconosciuto a ogni cittadino italiano.”

Update on 19 Oct 2013: An appeals court in Milan decided that Silvio Berlusconi cannot hold public office for the next two years.

(Inn   eye nah   dame aw crah TEA   oct sept eared   mon   OOR tie là.)

Den Anschein der Käuflichkeit erweckte

“Awoke the appearance of purchasability.”

What Germany’s penultimate Bundespräsident, Christian Wulff (C.D.U.), is on trial for in Hanover, to determine whether he did this by accepting ~700 euros in gifts from someone in the film industry during a weekend at the big Munich Oktoberfest in 2008 while Mr. Wulff was still governor of Lower Saxony. It was because of corruption charges from his days as governor that Mr. Wulff was forced to resign from office as president of Germany.

Germany’s president is supposed to be apolitical, party-neutral. They give speeches, judging and encouraging people in Germany and abroad. They attend funerals. If Germany were the U.S.A. the Bundespräsident might also take over some of the permanent fundraising work that can keep a leader from governing, but perhaps the proceeds would have to go to all (both) parties to preserve neutrality.

Great Bundespräsidents include Richard von Weiszacker and apparently Joachim Gauck.

There is only one Bundespräsident jokes are still told about: Heinrich Lübke. Famous Lübke quotes include, on a trip to Africa, “Ladies and gentlemen, and dear Negroes, …”

(Dane   ON shine   dare   COY flichh kite   ehh VECK teh.)

Volkszählungsurteil

“People-counting judgment,” the census decision made by the German constitutional court in the 1980’s. An online article I found on the history of Germany’s strongest interest in Datenschutz und Datensicherheit (data protection and data security) explained that country’s aversion to census-taking from a historical perspective. The Nazis took an infamous census of “greater German” territories in the 1930’s that collected data used to kill people later, supposedly with the aid of early computing machines. Later generations of Germans, especially the authority-questioning “1968 generation,” were early adopters of fears about the way a fact that is harmless in one context may become dangerous in another, meaning there is no longer such a thing as a harmless datum. It was and is the combination of mandatory registration with the local government of your residence and contact data, which all German residents still have to do, and a proposed resumption of census taking that set off the large protests against a census in Germany. Eventually the German constitutional court issued its decision reaffirming the first sentence of the German Civil Code, the right to human dignity, and saying control and protection of one’s information was protected by that right.

My source said the logic and humanity of the court’s granting of this protection, and seeing that the state obeyed the court’s decision and canceled the census, calmed the fears of the 1968 generation of antifaschist protesters and did a great deal to integrate them into civil society, which they now control.

(Folks TSAY loongs oor tile.)

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