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Home arrow newsitems arrow As Impunity Risk in Cyprus' Missing People Murders grows, CoE stresses Turkey's duty to Investigate+

As Impunity Risk in Cyprus' Missing People Murders grows, CoE stresses Turkey's duty to Investigate+

Written by ACM
Friday, 06 December 2019


*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/-
Among the Worst Violations of Human Rights in the World are those which may Target "Missing" Persons: Murders, Torture/Inhuman-Degrading Treatments, (in Isolation, at the Dark), Muzzling and/or Family Rights trampled underfoot, etc., while many Victims' Families face Tragedies, condemned to Wait for many Years/Decades an UnCertain "Return" of a beloved one, withOut even knowing if he/she is still alive...   

Europe had, unfortunately, the "privilege" to Test, there, its Human Rights' Protection Mechanisms the 1st, in this Post-World War Era, Starting with many ECHR's Cases since the 1974 Turkey's Military Invasion and Occupation of Cypus' Northern Terriories, But Latin-American Institutions and/or Politics managed to soon Catch-up, and even sometimes Bypass Europeans, particularly in the Fight against Impunity of Horrible Crimes, (Comp., already, also from an EU point of view, as early as since 2012, at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/redingonvictimscyprusmissing911.html, etc).


Nowadays, the "Old" and "Classic" Issue of ECHR's case-law on Cyprus' "Missing" Persons, has Reached a Crucial Stage in Strasbourg :

During the Last 10 to 15 Years, from 1.510 "Missing" Greek Cypriots, the Remains of 695 Persons have been Identified, and Turkish Authorities Claim to Investigate 306 Cases, CoE noted. This includes POWs, even Women, Children, Elder Civilians, etc, almost certainly Captured Alive, withOut knowing what happened to them afterwards, and who was responsible.

But the Content and Conclusions of such "Investigations" have Not yet been Disclosed, save in Only Four (4) Cases ! Even Worse : Not even a Single Case has led to Any Prosecution proceedings against any Suspect, until Now (12/2019), Denounced the Cyprus' Government...

On the Contrary, in 3 cases on which Turkey gave some "Clarifications", including an important one, earlier Singled out by the COE, (that of Savvas Hadjipanteli, in Varnavas affair, a Bank Employee, reportedly "Taken for Questioning by Turkish Soldiers, and "Recorded" by "Representatives of the International Red Cross", before a Gang of T/C Emptied a Safe at his Bank, with a Key that he always carried with him, Finding Afterwards his Body in a Mass Grave, with a Bullet shot in his Skull), the Turkish Authorities "found ... that the available Evidence was Not Sufficient to initiate a Prosecution, and that until further evidence is available, the Investigations should be considered Closed" !      

     "Military Zones" (60% of the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, controlled by the Turkish Army) ; "Complicated" and "Time Consuming" "Procedures for gaining Access" ; Refusals to Excavate even in Civllian Areas, on pretext that an Owner and/or Occupant did No give his/her Consent ; Information on Mass Burial Locations WithHeld f.ex. in Turkish Military Archives, by "military or auxiliary Personnel who participated in the military Invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974" ; Many Disturbances of Burial Sites and ReLocations of Human Remains, (etc); are among a Long List of Obstacles which Threaten to "Conceil Evidence of Crimes", Cyprus' Government Denounced.

=> In Consequence, CoE's Committee of Ministers, in a Decision adopted Today in Strasboug, stressed from the outset that, "due to the passage of time", it is "Urgent for the Turkish Authorities to advance", with a "Proactive approach" to provide" the "Committee on Missing Persons", with "all Necessary Assistabce to Achieve Tangible Results".    

>>> For that purpose, CoE asked Turkey to provide "UnHindered Access to All Areas which could contain the Remains of Missing persons". Given also the Fact that, with the passage of Time, Witness testimony becomes Scarcer", in consequence, "Documentary Evidence is Urgently Needed", in order "to Identify possible Burial Sites". Therefore, CoE Calls Turkey to "provide ...withOut Delay, ... All Information at their disposal relating to Burial Sites and Any Other Places where Remains might be Found, including ... Military Archives".

- Most Important, CoE expressed its "Interest" about "Information, ... on the ...Investigations", (Comp. Sypra). and Confirmed a "Call on the Turkish Authorities to Ensure the Effectiveness of the Investigations, as well as their Rapid Finalisation".

=> That's why CoE asked Turkey to "Transmit to the Committee of Ministers information on the progress of the Investigations and their Outcome".

This goes,  "in particular, in the Case of Savvas Apostolides", (a Young Conscrit/POW who had been reportedly Seen, by one of his Friends, Captured Alive, inside the Adana Prison at Mainland Turkey), as CoE's Official Decision points out.

+ Meanwhile, CoE, also, "Insisted again firmly on the Unconditional Obligation of Turkey to pay the Just Satisfaction awarded by the European Court in the Judgment "Cyprus v. Turkey" of 12 May 2014, withOut Further Delay".

This concerns 30 Millions € that ECHR's Grand Chamber has awarded, for Moral Damage, to the Families of "Missing" Persons, already 5,5 Years Earlier, but to whom, Turkey has Not yet paid not even a dime...        

On the Contrary, Ankara is reportedly Abusing of its own Obligations in order to ...Blackmail its Victims even on Other massive Human Rights Violations, as, f.ex., the Big Issue of Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced Persons (about 21% of the Total Island's Population, of whom Only a Few still struggle to survive in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, invaded and controlled by Turkey's Military)...           

CoE, except from Repeating the above-mentioned, Correct, but obviously Toothless Verbal Formula, several times, has Not Yet undertaken any known effort to impose the slightest Sanction to Turkey for its blatantly shameless and provocative behavior vis a vis elementary Human Rights, until now.    

Those 2 Issues are due to partly criss-cross eachother, inside CoE's Committee of Ministers' session for the Execution of ECHR's Judgements scheduled on June 2020.

But, will it be in order to really Strengthen Human Rights, or, in order to Yield to just another Turkish Blackmail, among notoriously too many, nowadays, (at CoE, EU, NATO, UN levels) ?        







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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.

+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).

 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas

- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.

(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :

    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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