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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Political motive to ECHR ruling ]

Political motive to ECHR ruling

George Psyllides


THE island’s top lawyer suggested yesterday that the European Court of Human Rights decision to recognise the property commission in the occupied north was politically motivated.

And the large number of property claims submitted to the ECHR by Greek Cypriot refugees contributed to the negative decision, Attorney-general Petros Clerides said.

“The decision, in my opinion, has a clear political feel that is incompatible with what we were used to from the court,” Clerides told reporters.

The ECHR on Friday issued a decision recognising the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) in the occupied areas as an effective domestic remedy of Turkey.

Greek Cypriot refugees seeking compensation or restitution for their properties in the occupied areas will now have to exhaust all domestic remedies in the occupied areas before applying to the Strasbourg-based court.

Clerides said the ECHR decision was a negative development both from a legal and political point of view.

“It is disappointing because it is not compatible with the justice expected from the court considering the precedent,” the Attorney-general said.

Clerides said the decision made references to the Annan plan, when in fact neither side involved in the case had mentioned the UN reunification blueprint rejected by Greek Cypriots in 2004.

It also spoke about the Turkish settlers and their potential rights when “colonisation is an international war crime,” Clerides said.

He said the ECHR decision also states that Greek Cypriots left their properties in the north without mentioning that they had been forced and they desire to return.

The decision was a clear deviation from established legal principles that justice cannot be based on injustice, Clerides said, noting Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the island.

But the Attorney-general also said that the flux of cases before the ECHR had had negative consequences.

President Demetris Christofias was more straightforward on Sunday.

“We warned sometimes that, mass appeals, at the end of the day could lead to recognition of the occupying force’s committee,” he said.

“Mass appeals were wrong. I do not reprove the people; the people were led by both politicians and lawyers to make these moves,” Christofias said.

The president said they were the ones who encouraged the people to appeal en masse “because they thought we would solve the Cyprus problem through legal procedures.” Now they are trying to lay the blame elsewhere, Christofias said. “We need to have the courage to admit to mistakes.”

He said the decision would not stop the Greek Cypriot side from defending principles and the right of the real owners to have first choice in a potential solution of the Cyprus problem.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the court should have taken into consideration the ongoing negotiations between the two sides on the island.

“Considering that we are in negotiations … the court should have been more careful and taken this fact into consideration,” Stefanou said.

Although the ECHR decision is perceived as a blow to the Greek Cypriot side and a political win for the Turkish Cypriot side, the ECHR reiterated its position that the ‘TRNC’ has no legal standing and that Turkey in terms of human rights is responsible for violations in the northern part of the island.

The IPC was set up in 2006 in response to a ruling by the ECHR that Turkey and its subordinate Turkish Cypriot administration were failing to offer an effective domestic remedy to Greek Cypriots seeking redress for properties they had lost in the north.

By November last year there were a reported 81 claims agreed through the property commission, with at least one record payment of over €22 million to two Greek Cypriot refugees.


(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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