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European court orders Turkey to pay €90 mln to Cyprus refugees, war victims

13 May, 2014

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Monday that Turkey is obliged to pay 90 mln euros ($124 mln) to the Republic of Cyprus for the violation of human rights during and after the 1974 invasion of the island.


The Court in Strasbourg held that Turkey was to pay Cyprus 30 mln euros in respect of the non-pecuniary damage suffered by the relatives of the missing persons, and 60 mln euros in respect of the non-pecuniary damage suffered by the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula.
The amounts are to be distributed by the Cypriot government to the individual victims under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers.
According to an ECHR statement, the Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey is final and was taken by a majority.
The Court also held by a majority that the passage of time since the delivery of the principal judgment, on 10 May 2001, did not preclude it from examining the Cypriot government’s just satisfaction claims.
The application had been introduced before the former European Commission of Human Rights in 1994, and was referred to the ECHR by the government of Cyprus on August 1999 and by the European Commission on September 1999.
The Grand Chamber delivered a judgment on 10 May 2001, finding numerous violations of the Convention by Turkey, arising out of the 1974 Turkish invasion and the activities of the illegal break-away state in the occupied north and which has been condemned by the UN Security Council.
Regarding the issue of just satisfaction, the Court had held unanimously that it was not ready for decision and adjourned its consideration.
On August 2007, the Cypriot government informed the Court of its intention to submit a request, for the Grand Chamber to resume consideration of the question of just satisfaction.
Moreover, on March 2010, the Cypriot government submitted to the Court their claims for just satisfaction concerning the missing persons in respect of whom the Court had found a violation of Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) and 5 (right to liberty and security).
On November 2011, the Cypriot Government requested the Court to take certain steps in order to facilitate the execution of that judgment and adopt a “declaratory judgment”.
The Court pointed out that it had found in the principal judgment a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 by virtue of the fact that Greek-Cypriot owners of property in northern Cyprus were being denied access to and control, use and enjoyment of their property as well as any compensation for the interference with their property rights.
It is added that it was for the Committee of Ministers to ensure compliance by the Turkish government with the findings of the principal judgment, which were binding and which had not yet been complied with.
Such compliance, it is added, was not consistent with any complicity in the unlawful sale or exploitation of Greek Cypriot homes and property in the northern part of Cyprus.
A final version of claims for just satisfaction was submitted by the Cyprus Government on June 2012, concerning the missing persons, while raising claims in respect of the violations committed against the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula.
The decision for Turkey to award non-pecuniary damages within three months to the Cyprus government, as a compensation for the relatives of missing persons, and to the residents of the Karpas Peninsula was taken with a 15 to 2 majority.
Τhe Cyprus government welcomed Monday’s ruling and the spokesman said “the Government expects the immediate compliance by Turkey through the adoption of the necessary measures to stop the illegal exploitation and sale of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas and to pay the damages that have been adjudicated by the Court.”
Ankara said before the announcement it would not be bound by the ruling, whose timing it said was aimed at undermining a fresh peace drive on the island. But a former Turkish judge at the ECHR said Turkey would have to pay the compensation.
Turkey, whose aspirations to join the European Union have long been frustrated by the Cyprus issue, had refused to attend hearings prior to the 2001 verdict.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara an ECHR ruling on the case would not be binding in terms of international law and drew attention to its timing.

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