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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-07-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) endorsed on Tuesday a friendly settlement reached between Greek Cypriot Andromachi Alexandrou and the so called immovable property commission in Cyprus Turkish occupied areas, providing for the restitution of part of Alexandrous property to the occupied areas and the payment to her and to her children of 1.5 million British pounds as compensation in lieu of their properties as well as for loss of use.

    The Court also decided to strike the remainder of Alexandrous application against the Republic of Turkey out of its list of cases, noting that it takes note of the agreement reached between the parties and that it is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols.

    In statements to CNA, Cyprus Attorney General Petros Clerides said that this judgment of the ECHR does not mean recognition of the so called commission, its legality or its efficiency, adding that this is a manoeuvre of the Turkish side to show that it returns properties back to their owners, something which it has not done so far. He also noted that Turkey wanted to have this judgment in view of the examination by the Court in November of eight applications by Greek Cypriot refugees against Turkey, which are considered as pilot cases.

    Clerides also noted that even if part of Alexandrous property is restituted there are still hundred thousands of Greek Cypriots who have lost their properties, which have not been restituted.

    He also said that there are no indications that Alexandrou will have the right to go and live in her property and that she will be able to use it as she wishes, adding that the ECHR expressed its satisfaction in the sense that none of Alexandrous rights is violated, since she accepted this compromise.

    Clerides said that the Court ratified this settlement as long as it deemed that it is not contradicting any of the applicants rights and since the applicant herself accepted this settlement.

    The case originated in an application against the Republic of Turkey under former Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by Alexandrou on 26 January 1990.

    On 20 January 2009, the Court delivered a judgment on the merits of the case. It held that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention and that it was not necessary to examine whether there had been a violation of Article 14 of the Convention taken in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. The Court further decided to reserve the question of the application of Article 41 of the Convention in whole.

    In her application, Alexandrou had claimed that she was the owner of 109 plots of land in the District of Kyrenia. However, she submitted claims for just satisfaction only in relation to 63 plots of land. She alleged that as a result of the 1974 Turkish military intervention, she had been refused access to her properties, which were located in the area under the occupation and overall control of the Turkish military authorities.

    On 24 November 2008 the applicant filed an application with the Immovable Property Determination, Evaluation and Compensation Commission an illegal body set up in the Turkish occupied areas with jurisdiction to award compensation for Greek-Cypriot immovable properties in the occupied areas.

    She requested financial compensation (10 million euros) for the loss of use of the 63 plots of land for which she had claimed just satisfaction before the Court. She specified that a total of 53 plots had been transferred to her children in 1996 and 2003.

    On 15 April 2009 two of the applicant`s children filed another application with the ``commission`` in order to obtain compensation with respect to 11 plots of land which had previously been owned by their mother and her deceased sister.

    The commission ordered the restitution of one of the properties claimed by the applicant`s children. It further invited the so called ministry responsible for housing affairs in the occupied areas to pay to the applicant and to her children 1,500,000 British Pounds as compensation in lieu of the properties as well as for loss of use.

    On 21 April 2009, the Court received from the Turkish Government a copy of the Commission`s decision of 17 April 2009 as well as a copy of a document entitled friendly settlement, dated 17 April 2009 and signed by the applicant, her two children and the so called ministry responsible for housing affairs.

    The immovable property to be restituted within reasonable period of time is at the village of Vasilia in Kyrenia district.

    As noted in the friendly settlement the decision of the committee for the restitution and the compensation of 1,500,000 Sterling shall become valid upon the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to strike the case out of its list.

    In a letter dated 25 April 2009, the applicant informed the Court that she had reached a friendly settlement, declaring full satisfaction with this remedy, and that she shall not seek any damages from the respondent State in principal judgment in respect of any damages, including loss of use, pecuniary and/or non-pecuniary damages, arising from the judgment of the Court to constitute a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.

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

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