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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR President Raimondi+ to EF on Cyprus' Refugees Judgements Implementation : "Trust" CoE to move

ECHR President Raimondi+ to EF on Cyprus' Refugees Judgements Implementation : "Trust" CoE to move

Written by ACM
Monday, 21 November 2016
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- European Court of Human Rights' new President, Guido Raimondi, speaking to "Eurofora" in the CoE, almost at the Same Time that a Final Push was reportedly prepared at Crucial Nearby UN sponsored Top level Talks for the ReUnification of Cyprus, on the Geneva-lake's "Pilgrim Mountain", stressed that, in his view, we should all "Trust CoE's Committee of Ministers" for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements on Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons.


That key Human Rights issue, (which affects an estimated 190.000 of Greek Cypriots obliged to flee from their Family Homes, private Properties and Ancestral Land, since the 1974 Turkey's Military Invasion and Occupation, and still Hindered to Return, not even hav Access to their belongings, Despite a well established ECHR case law, already since 1996 and 2001, etc, in Both Individual and Inter-State cases, more Recently Coonfirmed and Further Explicitated in more Concrete Terms also by a Landmark 2014 Decision of ECHR's Great Chamber), is currently at the Focus of still on-going UN sponsored Inter-Communal Talks at nearby Switzerland, particularly in relation with an Expected Agreement on Territory, that might, Hopefuly, open a road for a Multilateral Internatiobal Summit, due to deal with the Security Issues for a Comprehensive Political Solution, according to pertinent UN SC Resolutions, EU Law, and CoE's Values and Rules.

 

 

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Raimondi had earlier said that, nowadays, the CoE is Advancing quite well in the process of Developing Adequate "Tools" in order to Ensure, also in Real Practice, that ECHR's Decisions can be Taken nd Implemented on Time.


But Turkey is the Only "Western" world-oriented Country which has an Exceptionaly High Number of ECHR Judgements still Pending for Execution, for Many Years, most of which concern "Serious Violations of Human Rights", (Unlike f.ex. Italy, whose Delays concern, Comparatively, much more Lenient matters), he acknowledged.


Another, and much More Tragic Human Rights Issue, still Pending for Execution of ECHR Judgements which have Condemned Turkey's Authorities too, is that of about1.500 Greek Cypriot "MISSING" Persons, Strasbourg University's Professor at International Law, and Experienced former Long-Time EU Council's Legal Director in Brussels, Jean-Paul Jacqué observed spontaneously, speaking also to "Eurofora", earlier this Noon.


But, particularly since a 1997 Inter-Communal Agreement, brokered also during Cyprus' Talks under UN auspices at nearby Switzerland, in Montreux/Glyon city, (by a Symbolic Coincidence, very Close to nowadays' "Pilgrim Mountain" Top level Talks, oriented the "Missing" Persons' Human Rights matters among the so-called "Humanitarian" affairs, i.e. out of the mainly Political Top Talks.


Meanwhile, ECHR has  notoriously Condemned Ankara's authorities repeatedly for "Continuous" Violations of Both Refugees/Displaced Persons and "Missing"Persons and their Families' Human Rights, CoE's Committee of Ministers, whose Statutory Duty is to "Supervise the Execution of ECHR's Judgements", hasn't yet taken any really Convincing Measures vis a vis Turkey's reluctactance to act, except from several official "Calls", "Appeals", and other "Resolutions", which had a rather Limited Result until now, since Ankara still persists to drag it feet, (Comp., f<;ex., recently : ....).


President Raimondi, reminded, however, that, in Addition to certain Individual Measures, whenever a CoE's Member State is Condemned for Violations which "Reveal also a mich Wider, "Structural" Problem, then, it must also take some Sufficient "General Measures".

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+ But, Experienced, former CoE's Secretary General, Catherine Lalumiere of France, (a Socialist University Professor, from the same Governing Party as French President Hollande), who had Earlier observed, Criticaly, the Fact that a really Efficient Implementation of ECHR's Judgements "required also Political Will", added Now, in Reply to a relevant "Eurofora" Question, that, in her view, CoE's Committee of Ministers' above mentioned Statutory Duty in itself, wasn't always enough in order to ensure a Serious and Timely Implementation of ECHR's Judgements, but it was "Also Something Else, that was Needed" for that purpose, in fact.

 

 

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Lalumiere said that, also at the CoE, just 1 Day before Cyprus takes over the rotating Presidency of the PanEuropean Organhisation of Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, Tomorrow in Strasbourg, Tuesday 22 November 2016, in a Special Event of its 47 Member States strong Committee of Ministers, for which, the Experienced, Long-Time Cypriot Foreign Minister and former EU Parliament's MEP, Ioanis Kasulides, has just Arrived from Switzerland to France.


The Exceptional Importance of that Event is obvious also from the Fact that the Latest Time that Cyprus' Chaired the CoE was ...More than 22 Years Ago, on 1994-1995, (Comp. "Eurofora" co(Founder's various Publications from then).


Cyprus' CoE Presidency durates from November 2016 up to May 2017, included. But, as far as ECHR Judgements' Implementation is concerned, following an Established Practice, it will pass over that Specific Chair to Denmark, who will be its Successor at the General, Committee of Ministers' Chairmanship, approximatively from June 2017.

 

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+++ However, CoE's Director General for Legal affairs and Human Rights, Philippe Boillat from Swiitzerland, speaking Previously with "Eurofora", revealed that CoE's Committee of Ministers, which had recently, Suspended, exceptionaly, any Further Examination of the Issue of ECHR Judgements Implementation in the cases of Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced Persons, had only done so, in order to "Help" the UN sponsored InterCommunal, Top level Talks, at nearby Switzerland, to Hopefuly Advance towards an Agreement for Cyprus' ReUnification, which would appropriately include also that Human Rights' Issue.


=> We (CoE) are Following how that situation evolves, and, naturaly, if there is not sufficient Progress made there, we are Ready to Resume Consideration on that matter, and possibly Take adequate Action, Boillat warned then, in Reply to a relevant Question raised by "Eurofora", while the PanEuropean Organisation's Committee of Ministers has, in parallel, Fixed already a Date in order to Re-Open anew the Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons' issue as far as the Long-Awaited Implementation, by Turkey, of ECHR Judgements is concerned, during the First Months of 2017.

(../..)

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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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