The first goal of the CHP, which is taking the 16 April referendum – which has gone down in history as the ‘stampless referendum’ and which became disputed once the Supreme Election Board changed the rules after counting was underway to deem unstamped votes valid contrary to statute and international conventions - to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), is for the application to be admitted. In the application the CHP has made to the ECHR, it is requesting declaration of a rights violation, the reholding of the referendum and damages.
CHP Deputy General Chair Bülent Tezcan, noting that until now the ECHR has admitted and adjudicated applications over general elections, but has not admitted referendum applications, said, ‘If the ECHR rules it to be admissible, this will be a first.’ Tezcan said that they had three requests: ‘declaration of a rights violation, the reholding of the referendum and damages.’ Responding to a question about the delay in the application, made some two and a half months after the disputed referendum, Tezcan said, ‘We set up a six-person commission and it drew up our application after having made a detailed examination of ECHR rulings and case law.’
Tezcan continued, ‘All case law was gone through with a fine toothcomb and we know it is a difficult claim. The unlawfulness is blatant, but, until now, the court has never examined a referendum; it has always adjudicated with reference to general elections. We have found pointers as to admissibility in certain court decisions. If it deems it admissible with reference to the legislative assembly this will be a first.’ Tezcan, noting that they had applied to the court in respect of violation of Article 3 of the convention, set out the case as follows, ‘An application in respect of violation of Article 11, that is violation of freedom of expression due to violation of the right of freedom of assembly and association, of Article 13, that is over the denial an effective remedy (the Supreme Election Board not being an authority for objections) and violation of the right to free elections under Article 3 of the Additional Protocol (acceptance of unstamped votes).’
Tezcan stated that, in line with the advice they had received, they had decided not to make their application public.
The CHP’s three requests of the ECHR