The presidential commissioner for humanitarian affairs conceded that mistakes were made as regards the missing persons issue, which caused pain to the families, but the current administration had been trying to resolve all problems.
Photis Photiou was speaking after a meeting of the House human rights committee that convened in the wake of a European Human Rights Court (ECHR) decision awarding €45,000 in damages to the family of a Greek Cypriot killed during the Turkish invasion.
The family claimed that the state had failed to effectively investigate his fate or keep them informed on the course of investigations.
In its judgement, the ECHR said it could not attribute negligence to the Cypriot state in terms of the adequacy of the latter’s investigations to determine the fate of Christofis Pashias.
But it did find the state at fault for not adequately keeping the aggrieved relatives informed about the course of investigations – something that would help them achieve closure on their “ambiguous loss.”
Photiou said it was well known that mass burials had taken place in July and August 1974, most haphazardly and in an unorthodox manner.
“Unfortunately, these mistakes, these oversights, have caused a lot of pain to many relatives of people missing and killed,” he said. “I’ve apologised many times, so did the president, for the mistakes and oversights of that period.
Committee chairperson Irini Charalambidou said the state showed no sensitivity towards the families of those who were buried as ‘unknown’ still wearing their wedding bands and carrying their orders.
“Didn’t anyone show any interest in investigating this self-evident matter for 25 years?” Charalambidou said, adding that she would not oppose a criminal probe into the issue.
“Many crimes have been committed in Cyprus, which were neither punished nor was anyone put on trial. This is the biggest of all.”