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Cyprus at the disposal of International Criminal Court over Turkish illegal settlers

The government of Cyprus has placed itself at the disposal of the International Criminal Court to provide documentation on the colonization of the occupied area of Cyprus by Turkey.

“Since 1974, Turkey has implemented a systematic policy of colonization of the occupied part of Cyprus, from which it expelled approximately 170.000 Greek Cypriots, in an attempt to change the demographic character of the island and create faits accomplis,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release says.

This Turkish policy for the alteration of the demography of Cyprus, it points out, “has been condemned by the UN General Assembly, the Commission of Human Rights and the Council of Europe”.

Furthermore it notes that “the policy of colonization is expressly prohibited by the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Article 49 (6)), which stipulates that the `Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies`”.

According to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 8 (2) (b) (viii)), “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory” is a war crime, the press release adds.

In this context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes “the initiative of MEP, Mr Costas Mavrides, and Cypriots Against Turkish War Crimes to submit to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court a communication concerning the settlement activity of Turkey within the territory of Cyprus, requesting the Prosecutor to initiate, pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute, an investigation into the crimes committed within the Court’s jurisdiction”.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus places itself “at the Court’s disposal to provide documentation on the colonization of the occupied area of Cyprus by Turkey”.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island and occupied its northern third. It is estimated that illegal Turkish settlers in the island’s northern occupied areas outnumber native Turkish Cypriots by a ratio of 2:1, with their numbers thought to be around 160,000 and rising.

CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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