11 January 2002
Situation in Cyprus
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Rapporteur: Mr Erik Jurgens, Netherlands, Socialist Group
I. Conclusions of the committee
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights supports the report of the Political Affairs Committee.
II. Explanatory memorandum
by Mr Jurgens, Rapporteur
1. The report of the Political Affairs Committee concentrates on recent developments in Cyprus which show some form of rapprochement between the two communities of the divided island. These developments seem to be the consequence partly of the negotiations between the Republic of Cyprus and the European Union (EU) about accession to the EU, partly of initiatives from the United Nations Secretary General aimed at finding a political solution to the continuing de facto partition of the island and, hopefully, partly of the wish of the inhabitants of the two parts of Cyprus to normalize their relations within an internationally agreed settlement.
2. As these initiatives and developments are politically very sensitive it seems unwise for the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to stress at this moment too strongly the normative elements of the problem as these apply under public international law and as they regard the implementation of human rights. On the other hand, the Council of Europe cannot afford to neglect these elements, as it is for the defence and application of these elements that the Council of Europe was principally instituted.
3. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights could also be instrumental in helping to find constitutional solutions to the problem of the peaceful coexistence of two different ethnic groups on the island of Cyprus, and in bringing them together within the Republic of Cyprus in the framework of a model of federation or confederation as has been illustrated over centuries by examples such as that of the Dutch Republic of the Seven United Provinces (1568-1795), of the Swiss Confederation which became a Federation in 1848, or of the present solution found in Belgium.
4. The occupation of Northern Cyprus was originally justified by Turkey as guarantee power and kin-state on the basis of the necessity of protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community in Cyprus. Whatever the opinion one now may have about this necessity at that moment, under public international law, no justification can be found for a continued occupation by the kin-state when such immediate danger is no longer apparent, and certainly not for the fact that the kin-state supports by force of arms the existence of a separate regime for this area. This regime is only recognised by that kin-state, and not by the international community. The kin-state should, on the contrary, be active in the promotion of a political solution encompassing also guarantees for the Turkish Cypriot community within the legitimate boundaries of the existing Republic of Cyprus. Under public international law there is no justification for the continued occupation of a part of the island of Cyprus. This occupation has therefore been consistently condemned by the Council of Europe and the international community. It is clear, on the other hand, that Greece – the kin-state of the Greek Cypriot community on the island of Cyprus – has a similar obligation to promote a political solution.
5. No justification can be found for violations of basic human rights of the population of the island of Cyprus, especially those violations by Turkey which have been condemned in several important decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, as is pointed out in paragraph 31 in the explanatory memorandum of the report of the Political Affairs Committee.
6. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights is actively involved in the matter of "Implementation of Decisions of the Court". The second report of the committee, which will be discussed possibly during the January 2002 part-session, discusses among others the cases on Cyprus, especially the Loizidou case. It is quite clear that a political solution to the Cyprus problem will be instrumental to proper execution by Turkey of these decisions, to the implementation of which Turkey has bound itself by being a signatory of the 1950 Convention.
Reporting committee: Political Affairs Committee
Committee for opinion: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Reference to committee: Resolution 1054 (1995), References Nos 2063 and 2064, Recommendation 1292 (1996), Resolution 1113 (1997), motion for an order (Doc 7828)
Opinion approved by the committee on 7 January 2002
Secretaries to the committee Mrs Coin, Mrs Kleinsorge, Mr Ćupina
1 . See Doc 9302 tabled by the Political Affairs Committee.