Cyprus Mail

‘Fugitives are only extradited to other states, not the north’

The Turkish Cypriot side has been constantly pressing, during meetings of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Affairs, a demand that alleged criminals who fled to the government-controlled areas be handed over, CNA reported on Thursday.

However, sources told the news agency this would be illegal “since fugitives can be extradited only to other states”

The same source said that through its demand the Turkish Cypriot side appeared to be pursuing the upgrading of the breakaway state in the north.

They had put forward the issue on several occasions, the latest being two weeks ago, CNA said.

The Turkish Cypriot side apparently began applying more pressure after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in January this year unanimously held Turkey responsible for failing to cooperate with Cyprus in a murder case which dated back to 2005 where three members of a Turkish Cypriot family were murdered in the Republic.

Although initially in its Chamber judgment of April 4, 2017 the Court had ruled that Nicosia was also responsible in the case of Güzelyurtlu and Others v. Cyprus and Turkey, in its final judgment the Grand Chamber judges said with 15 votes to 2 that Cyprus did all that could be reasonably expected to bring to justice the killers, who had fled the Republic’s jurisdiction.

According to the Court, Turkey had not made the minimum effort required in the circumstances of the case and “had ignored Cyprus extradition requests, returning them without reply, contrary to their obligation under Article 2.

The case concerned the murder of Elmas Güzelyurtlu, his wife Zerrin, and their daughter Eylül, who in January 2005 were shot dead on the Nicosia-Larnaca highway. After the incident, their killers fled back to the north.

Asked about the cooperation between the two communities as regards the issues with which the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Affairs was dealing with, the same source told CNA recalled that a bicommunal Contact Office was operating in the UN-controlled buffer zone. “We’ve been cooperating on many issues on which we are able to do so, for nine years now,” said the source. They added that hundreds of cases had been dealt with so far in the framework of this cooperation, without any issue of recognition of the north.

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