Bring Anna Home - Taking the Fight to Strasbourg

by Dirk Campbell

Bring Anna Home - Taking the Fight to Strasbourg

by Dirk Campbell
Dirk Campbell
Case Owner
My name is Dirk Campbell. Many of you will know me as being the father of Anna Campbell, who travelled to Syria to join the Kurdish resistance against Daesh (ISIS).
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Dirk Campbell
Case Owner
My name is Dirk Campbell. Many of you will know me as being the father of Anna Campbell, who travelled to Syria to join the Kurdish resistance against Daesh (ISIS).
Pledge now

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Latest: April 12, 2023

Latest update

I wrote to you recently and updated you that a hearing had very unexpectedly been listed to deal with my original application for Turkey to return my daughter’s remains to our family.  Fol…

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 My daughter’s story

For those who might not have followed my previous campaign, in March 2018 my daughter was killed in Afrin, North-western Syria, by a Turkish air strike. 

Anna was fighting with the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has been supported in its fight against ISIS by the UK.  However, more concerned about the Kurds at its borders than the threat of ISIS, Turkey launched a missile strike on the YPG, which resulted in the death of my daughter. 

Anna was a beautiful loving daughter, a feminist, an activist, a woman of courage who dedicated her life to fight for a better world for the rest of us.

Anna’s remains still lie on the battlefield in Afrin, which is now Turkish controlled territory.  We know the exact location.  The British Government has failed to take any meaningful action and my requests to the Turkish Government have gone unheeded. 

The previous campaign

As some of you know, I instructed leading human rights lawyers, McCue Jury & Partners, to represent me and to make formal representations to the Turkish Government for their breaches of international law in failing to properly deal with deaths resulting from war in their territories.  

However, given the legal complexities and costs involved in bringing this case, my lawyers have now been required to work pro bono for well over a year.

We have instructed a barrister in Turkey who, in May 2021, wrote on my behalf to the relevant Turkish authorities asking again for Anna’s remains and belongings to be returned to her family.  We received no reply. 

In July 2021, we made an application to the Administrative Court in Turkey seeking to enforce our, and Anna’s, rights through the Turkish courts.  

Turkey has not engaged with our application in any substantive manner.  First, our case was transferred to another court, and then (earlier this month) we were told we were not entitled to any remedy.

The Turkish legal process has been painfully slow from the start.  It is becoming abundantly clear that we will get no justice in Turkey.

What we can do

As I have not received any redress from the Turkish Government and seem to have no hope of doing so, I am ready to take my case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. 

Turkey has violated its international human rights obligations by failing to return Anna’s remains or to properly account for the events that led to her death.

Turkey has a long history of disregarding international law in this way, and this must end.  

The European Court of Human Rights can hold Turkey to account for its failures.  It will consider my application and, if successful, will declare that the Turkish Government has violated my human rights and that Anna’s remains should be returned to her family. 

Perhaps, finally, the Turkish Government will be forced to adhere to fundamental humanitarian law and start to treat those who are suffering from their actions with basic human dignity.  

How you can help

I need to raise funds to cover the current and future costs of making my application to Strasbourg.  Every penny donated will go towards the funding of the progression of my case.  

I am represented by solicitors McCue Jury & Partners LLP and barrister Dr. Austen Morgan who is an expert in this area of law.

Many of you have already been so generous in supporting me to get this far.  I can’t tell you how much this means to me.  

I believe that bringing a Human Rights claim at the Strasbourg Court is my last and only hope to return my daughter’s remains to the UK and to also hold Turkey accountable for their unacceptable behaviour.  

I simply could not continue this fight for justice without you.  Thank you.

Update 3

Dirk Campbell

April 12, 2023

Latest update

I wrote to you recently and updated you that a hearing had very unexpectedly been listed to deal with my original application for Turkey to return my daughter’s remains to our family.  Following the tragic earthquakes that struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria, the court in Hatay (where my hearing was to take place) was destroyed, and the hearing consequently vacated. 

I am now writing to let you know that a new hearing date has been listed by the Hatay Court in Turkey.  The hearing will take place on Thursday 28 September 2023. 

Once this hearing has occurred, I will be able to update you on the decision made by the Turkish Court, and on how this will impact the continuation of my Human Rights case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. 

Thank you, as ever, for your continued support. 

Dirk Campbell

Update 2

Dirk Campbell

March 21, 2023

Crowdjustice Update

Thank you for your generous support, which paid for my lawyers to prepare and submit my application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for Turkey’s refusal to return the remains of my late daughter Anna Campbell back to her country and family.

You may remember that the reason I was forced to file a claim with the Court in Strasbourg was because the Hatay Court in Turkey ignored my application to recover my daughter’s remains.  My petition was met with silence, and I was advised by my Turkish barrister that I was extremely unlikely to ever achieve justice through the Turkish legal system.

However, an unexpected U-turn has occurred in my quest to bring back Anna, which I am writing to update you about today. 

In the New Year, the Hatay Court in Turkey wrote to my Turkish barrister and informed her that they were listing a hearing to deal with my original application.  The hearing was listed for 9 February 2023, for which my Turkish barrister prepared on my behalf (although she did advise me that this was a mere formality and that the Judge reading my papers would very likely dismiss my application). 

Tragically, Hatay was devastatingly struck by the terrible earthquakes that struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria, which caused widespread and untold damage, along with a truly appalling loss of life.

As we are all aware, Turkey is continuing to struggle with the devastation caused to its country and its people.  My hearing therefore did not proceed, and I have no information regarding when it might be heard.  I understand that much of Hatay has been tragically destroyed, and it is likely to take months and possibly years for my application to be heard in Turkey. 

How does this affect my human rights case at Strasbourg?

My lawyers have updated the European Court of Human Rights about the Turkish Court listing a hearing, followed by the tragic earthquakes which then rendered this impossible.  My lawyers have asked the Court to continue my case on the basis that my case cannot be heard in Turkey and most likely will not be heard there for several years, if ever.  I wait to hear back from Strasbourg feeling hopeful that justice will prevail.  

Thank you all so much for your support.  It means so much.

Kind regards,

Dirk Campbell

Update 1

Dirk Campbell

May 26, 2022

We've reached our target!

We've done it! Thanks to all you stars who have contributed, this is amazing! I am confident that the legal action will succeed. I want it to do two things: inform the world of Erdogan's genocide against the Kurds and get him to accept he can no longer commit human rights abuses without consequence.

I hope that this is not the only action that will result from Erdogan's crimes against humanity. Kurds who have suffered from Erdogan's brutality, whether in Kurdistan or in the countries where they have been forced to flee, can take heart and hopefully pursue class actions to get redress from Turkey.

With profound gratitude for your generosity, all who have supported this cause in whatever way.

Dirk

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