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ECHR says Cyprus man’s rights not violated

The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has ruled as inadmissible an appeal by a Cypriot national that Cyprus authorities had violated his private and family life by ordering the demolition of his residence.

In a judgment in the case of Stylianou v Cyprus, the court said the applicant had failed to exhaust all domestic legal remedies before taking recourse at the ECHR.

The applicant was seeking redress, arguing that authorities here had violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for one’s private and family life, their home and correspondence.

According to the facts of the case, before applying to the ECHR the applicant had been found guilty by Nicosia district court for having erected a residence, an auxiliary structure and an enclosure wall without having first secured a building permit. The district court also said the man held and used these premises, residing there with his family without having obtained a certificate of final approval.

As a result, the district court fined the man and also issued a demolition order for the premises. The man then appealed the decision with the supreme court in Cyprus, but the court upheld the initial ruling.

In hearing the appeal, the ECHR rejected the applicant’s contention that the Cypriot courts were aware that the residence in question was the only dwelling for himself and his family.

The ECHR accepted the Republic of Cyprus’ argument that the applicant did not exhaust all domestic legal remedies available to him. Having examined the paperwork previously filed with both the Nicosia district court and the supreme court, the ECHR found no documentation that the man had informed the Cypriot courts that the demolished residence was his sole dwelling – and that he would therefore become homeless because of the demolition.

The court in Strasbourg said the applicant could not expect the Cypriot courts to investigate his personal circumstances, and that he himself ought to have provided this information to them.

The ECHR said it had no reason to believe that, had the applicant provided such information, the Cypriot courts would not have taken it into account.

The ECHR published its judgment on December 7.

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