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European Court of Human Rights Finds Turkey Guilty of Human Rights Violations in Case of Missing Persons in Cyprus
2008-01-10 10:26:14

Nicosia, Jan 10 – The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of violating the human rights of Greek Cypriots missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

In its judgment the Court stated that Turkey is guilty of “the continuing violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of failure of the authorities of the respondent state (Turkey) to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of the nine first applicants who disappeared in life threatening circumstances”.

The decision in the case of “Varnava and Others v. Turkey”, was taken by six votes in favor and one against, that of Judge Gonu Eronen, representing Turkey.

The Court also announced that there was violation of Article 3 which prohibits inhuman treatment and Article 5, the right to liberty and security.

The applicants are 18 Cypriot nationals, nine of whom have been considered missing since they were taken into captivity by the Turkish army during military action in Cyprus in 1974. They have not been accounted for since.

The other nine applicants are the parents or wives of the missing applicants and based their application on Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), 4 (prohibition of forced labour), 5 (right to liberty and security), 6 (right to a fair trial), 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 10 (freedom of expression), 12 (right to marry), 13 (right to an effective remedy) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention.

The Cyprus government expressed here satisfaction with the Judgment. Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas said that “this is a positive development and the Government expresses its satisfaction”.

Palmas described the issue of missing persons as “sensitive and humanitarian”, adding that “the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is an autonomous European instrument which takes its decisions independently”.

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