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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Family of Mari victim heads to ECHR ]

Family of Mari victim heads to ECHR

Poly Pantelides

THE FAMILY of one of the victims of last July’s naval base blast is taking the state to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for failing to indict everyone responsible.

The applicants are the relatives of Michalis Heracleous, who was among the 13 sailors and fire-fighters killed on July 11 when 98 containers holding munitions exploded at Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari.

The munitions were confiscated in 2009 and were left exposed to the weather for more than two years. Former ministers and fire and army officials were indicted in March in relation to causing the deaths of the thirteen men by want of precaution, and for homicide by gross negligence.

The Heracleous family claims they have been deprived of their human right to an effective remedy in relation to Heracleous’ death because “the Attorney-general declined to take any steps to lift the immunity of the President of the Republic”.

Attorney-general Petros Clerides – who has ultimate jurisdiction over all criminal prosecution – said in January when he announced the indictments that there were no legal grounds to indict Christofias.

Some relatives of the victims disagreed and tried to set in motion a Supreme Court procedure to eventually lift the immunity. Among them was the Heracleous family via their lawyer, Loucis Loucaides. They were however unsuccessful.

The relatives also cite a non-binding inquiry by lawyer Polys Polyviou pointing the finger at President Demetris Christofias for the ultimate political and personal responsibility.

 “The state – through the competent authority, i.e. the Attorney-general – failed to carry out this duty by not lifting the immunity so as to include [the President] in the police investigations and as a consequence [failed to] bring him before the Court,” the application states.

The family claims that because of the Attorney-general’s lack of action to indict Christofias, their right to an effective remedy at home - under article 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights – has been violated.

Article 13 says that “everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in the Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity”.

ECHR applications can only be made after domestic remedies have been exhausted but the family argues that their application deals with lack of action so no final decision from a (Cyprus) court is necessary.

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

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