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Cypriot refugee to respond to CJEU’s objection to waive Commission’s immunity

December 18, 2019 at 4:50pm
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A Cypriot refugee who has turned to the Court of Justice of the European Union to pursue his compensation claim for the loss of use of his property in the Turkish-held northern part of Cyprus will respond to the CJEU’s objection to waive the immunity of the European Commission by end of day on Wednesday. The deadline is Thursday, December 19, according to a CNA report.

Chiropractor Dinos Ramon, a Cypriot national, was forced to abandon his property in the face of advancing Turkish troops, in the summer of 1974, and he is now claiming part of the pre-accession funds the EU has earmarked for Turkey for the promotion of human rights.

“The Cypriot refugee’s response is expected to be sent today (Wednesday) via electronic mail, and the applicant appears optimistic enough that a hearing process date will be set by the CJEU before next summer,” the report also said.

The decision in this case is of huge importance, as it will open the way for similar cases on a European level, Ramon’s lawyer Achilleas Demetriades has said.

Ramon had completed his 32-room clinic in the village of Boghaz, in Famagusta. He was 37 years old when he was forced to flee to the southern part of Cyprus, during the Turkish invasion. Since then he is unable to gain access to or use his property.

In 1995, he turned to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), as part of the Xenides-Arestis group of cases and won. Nine years later, Ankara has yet to pay the damages awarded by the Court, worth €450,000.

Demetriades secured on June 26 an interim judgment for a “Garnishee Order Nisi” from the Famagusta District Court, claiming for his client the amount of €585,418.74 (the amount of the damages awarded by the European Court plus expenses and interest) from Turkey’s pre-accession funds relating to the protection and promotion of human rights.

According to the Cypriot Court’s judgment “in order to achieve the payment of the said amounts to the Applicant, the CJEU must decide, following an Application, the waiver of the immunity of the European Commission as an organ of the European Union as regards to the above mentioned property.”

The CJEU had decided against the waiver of the immunity, prompting Ramon’s new response, while Demetriades noted that the case is of huge importance on four levels.

“The first is the personal level and has to do with the compensation for the loss of use of Ramon’s property” he said. On a national level, he noted that the case is pertinent to Turkey’s EU accession course, while on a European level, the case touches upon transparency issues in the procedures of the European Commission.

Demetriades said finally that there is a fourth, pan-European dimension, since “enforcing this decision through Cyprus’ domestic legal order opens the way for the same to possibly happen in 47 countries, that are members of the Council of Europe.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. So far, Ankara has not paid damages relating to certain cases concerning missing persons and property claims, awarded by the European Court in Strasbourg to Cypriot applicants, for a number of violations committed in Cyprus during and after the 1974 Turkish invasion.