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Attorney General stresses significance of European Court decision
2005-04-07 10:42:10

April 7, 2005 – Cyprus’ Attorney General Solon Nikitas has welcomed a European Court of Human Rights unanimous decision that a ''compensation commission'' in Turkish-occupied Cyprus cannot be considered effective domestic remedy to which Greek Cypriots must apply with regard to claims on their property.

''This decision consolidates and strengthens the statehood of the Republic of Cyprus and its international status,'' he said, pointing out that the decision continues to consider Turkey responsible for what happens in Cyprus' occupied areas by virtue of the control it exercises through the presence of its military troops.

Nikitas emphasises that the Court does not absolve Turkey of its responsibility with regard to the violation of the rights of refugees because, as Ankara had claimed, the Greek Cypriots rejected a UN-proposed solution plan.

The decision also notes that even if the UN plan had been adopted it would not have provided immediate remedy with regard to the restitution of Greek Cypriot properties.

The Attorney General has described as ''important'' the Court view that the Greek Cypriots do not have to apply to the ''compensation committee'' first before taking their property claims to the European Court.

''Had the Turkish claim been accepted, the international statehood of Cyprus, on the basis of which we function as a member of the international community, would have had received an irreparable blow,'' he said.

The Court rejected on Wednesday Turkey's preliminary objections alleging that the ''commission'' is an effective domestic remedy which Greek Cypriots must exhaust before filing a recourse to the European Court.

The objections were raised in the case of Greek Cypriot refugee Myra Xenidi Aresti, from occupied Famagusta, who claims the right to enjoy peacefully her property, under Turkish occupation since 1974. The case was declared admissible by the Court and will take its course before it.

Nikitas points out that the equal status the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities enjoy during negotiations on the UN plan (the Annan plan) does not ''signify recognition of the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus neither does it give this regime any kind of status of a state.''

The Attorney General also notes that ''Turkey continues to exercise absolute military control in the northern part of Cyprus and was not in a position to show any kind of change in this respect.''

He stressed that the Court considers that the rejection of the Annan plan by the Greek Cypriots does not have ''the legal consequence of bringing to an end the continuing violation of the displaced persons' rights for, even the adoption of the plan would not have afforded immediate redress.''

Nikitas explained that had the Turkish objections been accepted by the Court, all pending applications by Greek Cypriots would have been declared inadmissible and the obligation to apply to legal instruments of the illegal regime would have eliminated any notion of Cyprus' state entity.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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