‘Law enforcement officers are well aware of the policy of impunity’

Amed Bar Association Child Rights Centre head Emin Gün said that there are law enforcement officers who are very aware of the policy of impunity and added that there is no government official convicted for murders caused by armoured police vehicles.

Lawyer Gün stated that with the murder of 7-year-old Miraç Miroğlu, the number of people who were killed by armoured police vehicles in the last 13 years has risen to 42. “If the justice system worked properly, we would not be talking about these numbers today.”

Turkish state forces have killed 41 people with armoured vehicles in the last 13 years. Most recently, with the murder of 7-year-old Miraç Miroğlu in İdil district of Şırnak province, the number has risen to 42. Once again, the perpetrators have been rewarded with a policy of impunity. The police officer who ran over the 13-year-old boy was released immediately after his statement.

Lawyer Gün spoke to ANF about the deaths caused by armoured vehicles and the policy of impunity.

Stating that it is necessary to recognize armoured vehicles as war machines, Lawyer Gün noted that their presence in public spaces is a major problem. Gün revealed that the existence of these vehicles affects the psychological state of children.


Gül stated that there is no plausible explanation that children who have witnessed war and conflicts see these vehicles so intensely in their daily lives. “Seeing so many public officials and war vehicles leads them to militarism. Children can no longer imagine a future as before. It is impossible for children not to be affected by these war vehicles. According to a report by the IHD (Human Rights Association), over 40 people were killed by these vehicles in the last 13 years. This is just a lack of control. They defined what happened as a traffic accident in the crime scene reports, but it is not possible for it to be a traffic accident. According to the Highway Traffic Regulation, the maximum speed limit of these vehicles is 30 kilometres inside the cities. Once cannot cause such a death at this speed. This is a security show under the pretext of security.”


Gün remarked that it is not necessary for a public official to exceed the speed limit to go to a market to buy water or to go from one place to another. “Entering children's playgrounds with an armoured vehicle at this speed will certainly cause death. This is a predictable situation. You can't designate something that you can prevent as an accident. Of course, there are also accidents. However, when the driver stops and deals with the person she/he hit, we can call it an accident. There are law enforcement officers who are very aware of the policy of impunity. We have never seen a law enforcement officer receive punishment in a similar case. If you protect a law enforcement officer with impunity and if the murdered person is a defenceless child, it is inevitable that such a result will come out. I'm not saying this to normalize these situations. I mean that if the justice system worked properly, we wouldn't be talking about these murders today.”


Lawyer Gün also gave information about the cases of people killed by armoured vehicles and the criminal proceedings about them. “Driving the vehicles in question requires a certain technical knowledge. We don't even know if those law enforcement officers were trained about how to drive them. Furthermore, the “accident report” about the incident is written by police officers who are colleagues of the perpetrator. In other words, we are talking about a partial trial process that is unfair from the very beginning. Unfortunately, this is because of the policy of impunity and the manipulation of law enforcement officers. If you deploy law enforcement officers here to make them completely focus on the war, the outcome will be something like this. Law enforcement officers here have to take care of the sensitivity of the region.”


Gün also pointed to the roles of non-governmental organizations and activists in this regard. “Civil society and activists obviously need to increase their actions, but it is very difficult for them to completely prevent these events. In fact, the matter of children’s rights is a relatively narrow field when compared to the field of women's rights or human rights. We are talking about a field where the subject is not able to defend itself. It is a field where there is a lack of empathy, since it is a field where the adults defend the child. Since children's rights are a more emotional issue, I think this is also disadvantaging. One would not display professionalism under such conditions. This leads to the emergence of different advocacy fields.”