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Greek Cypriots applicants ask CoE to launch infringement proceedings against Turkey

September 7, 2018 at 12:50pm
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Greek Cypriot applicants have asked the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to launch infringement proceedings against Turkey, in an effort to apply pressure on Ankara to enforce the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The rarely-used procedure, based on article 46§4 of the Convention, provides that in case the Committee of Ministers considers that a country refuses to abide by a final judgment, it may, after serving formal notice and by decision adopted by a majority vote of two-thirds of the representatives, refer to the Court the question whether it has failed to fulfil its obligation.

So far, the procedure has been initiated only once against Azerbaijan.

The Committee of Ministers convenes in Strasbourg between September 18 and 20 to monitor the execution of ECHR judgments. Cypriot-related cases include, among others, Greek Cypriot property owners who await the execution of judgements and the payment of the damages ordered by the Court.

In a letter to Strasbourg, lawyer Achilleas Demetriades asks the Committee of Ministers to serve formal notice on Turkey, pursuant to article 46§4 in relation to the case of “Lordos and Others v Turkey” and refer the matter to the Court.

The ECHR ordered Turkey in 2012 to pay the Greek Cypriot applicants of the case a total of €20.8 m.

Back then, the lawyer had asked the Court to award a yearly amount, due to Turkey’s unwillingness to abide by ECHR rulings, a claim which the Court did not satisfy at that point.

With the referral of the case back to the Court, Demetriades hopes that a decision could be reached now to award the yearly amount claimed in 2012 for the period of six years that passed since then (2012-2018).

Article 46§4 was initiated for the first time in December 2017 against Azerbaijan due to the authorities’ continuing refusal to ensure the unconditional release of opposition politician Ilgar Mammadov following a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights in 2014. Mammadov was released finally last August.

A number of other Greek Cypriot applicants also sent letters to Strasbourg last week, highlighting Turkey’s refusal to comply with Court rulings.

In particular, Greek Cypriot professor Andreas Orphanides asks the Committee of Ministers that Turkey executes immediately the payment ordered by the Court in 2010 in relation to his property in Turkish-occupied Lapithos village.

Moreover, he reiterates his suggestion that the Committee of Ministers takes all appropriate actions for confiscating assets/holdings of Turkey in France or another European country, in case Ankara does not pay damages by the next meeting on September 18-20.

Another lawyer, Christos Clerides also sent a letter to the competent department of the Council of Europe, acting on behalf of 9 Greek Cypriot applicants. In the letter, received last July, Clerides says that Turkey has flagrantly refused to pay the judgement debts and is still refusing to comply.

He asks finally the Committee of Ministers to take all necessary steps to ensure enforcement and due execution of the judgements against Turkey without further delay.

(Cyprus News Agency)