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Cyprus Divided Island

Turkey should pay damages awarded by ECHR refugees say

The ECHR

Turkey should immediately execute European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgements and pay the damages awarded, refugees with property in the north said in letters to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Professor Andreas Orphanides and Anthousa Iordanou are among the applicants of the Xenides-Arestis group of cases, who turned to the European Court in relation to their property rights in Lapithos and Sysklipos and obtained judgments against Turkey.

Orphanides, who has yet to receive the damages awarded by the Court back in 2010 asked for the immediate restoration of possession of his home and property in Lapithos, and called on the Committee of Ministers to go beyond “theoretical” decisions and take practical measures to enforce ECHR judgments.

In his letter, Orphanides also requested the Committee of Ministers take stronger and more effective action for the immediate and unconditional execution of Court judgments. He said the sum awarded by the Court as compensation is not for the expropriation of his home and property “which remain mine and I am entitled to peacefully enjoy.”

Orphanides said ECHR judgements are unconditionally executed by the respondent government and there is no obligation of the applicant to apply to obtain redress from any other party or body, such as the Immovable Property Commission that operates in the north.

He said the IPC was established as a domestic remedy prior to the admissibility of application to ECHR and was not meant to be involved with execution of final Court judgements. “Therefore, IPC is irrelevant to the above ECHR’s judgements,” he said.

In a separate letter the lawyer for Anthousa Iordanou, who has property in Lapithos and Sysklipos, said bank details were forwarded to Turkey for the payment of the sums awarded, as requested by the Court after the judgement was made in 2011.

“To this date, we have not received any response on the matter,” the lawyer said.

The Committee of Ministers will examine the property rights of displaced Greek Cypriots as part of the “Cyprus v. Turkey” case, as well as the individual measures and just satisfaction of applicants in the Xenides-Arestis group of cases during a meeting from September 29 to October 1.

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