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Main Page :- Articles :- European Commission of Human Rights - Cyprus v. Turkey - Commission Report, 10 July 1976

 

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Chapter 3 - Proceedings before the Commission

24.       A schedule of the proceedings before the Commission is attached as Appendix XIII to this Report and an account of the Commission's unsuccessful attempts to reach a friendly settlement is given in Appendix XV which has been produced as a separate document.

The following is an outline of the proceedings.

a)         Proceedings on admissibility

25.       Application No. 6780/74 was introduced on 19 September 1974 and on the President's instructions communicated on the following day to the respondent Government for observations on admissibility.

The Commission considered the application on 30 September and on 1 October 1974 decided that the applicant Government should be invited to submit further details.

26.       The applicant Government's "Particulars of the Application" of 15 November and the respondent Government's observations of 21 November on the admissibility of the application were examined by the Commission on 13 and 14 December 1974. The Commission decided that the respondent Government, and subsequently the applicant Government, should be invited to submit such further observations in writing as they might wish to make.

27.       On 20 March 1975 the Commission, having regard to the respondent Government's further observations of 22 January and the applicant Government's reply of 27 February, decided to hold a hearing on the admissibility of the application on 22 and 23 May 1975.

28.       Application No. 6950/75 was introduced on 21 March 1975 and on the Commission's instructions communicated on 25 March to the respondent Government for observations on admissibility.

On 21 May 1975 the Commission considered the application, the respondent Government's observations of 24 April and the applicant Government's reply of 10 May 1975. The Commission decided that the two applications should be joined and that the Parties should be invited at the hearing to make oral submissions on the admissibility of both applications.

29.       The Commission heard the Parties' oral submissions on both applications on 22 and 23 May and deliberated on 23, 24 and 26 May 1975. On 26 May it declared the applications admissible.

The Parties were informed of this decision on the same day. The full text of the decision [28] was approved by the Commission on 12 July and communicated to the Parties on 16 July 1975.

b)         Proceedings on the merits

30.       For the purpose of carrying out its tasks under Art. 28 of the Convention the Commission on 28 May 1975 set up a Delegation composed of the President, Mr. Fawcett, and five other members, MM. Ermacora, Busuttil, Frowein, Jörundsson and Trechsel.

On 30 May 1975 the Delegation adopted a provisional programme for ascertaining the facts of the case and conducting any necessary investigations under Art. 28 (a). This was communicated to the Parties who were invited to meet the Delegation in June 1975.

31.       In a press communiqué of 30 May 1975 [29] the respondent Government, reiterating their view that "the Greek Cypriot Administration cannot by itself represent the Republic of Cyprus", declared that the Commission's decision on the admissibility of the applications would not influence this attitude. Accordingly "the Turkish Government will not accept the Greek Cypriot Administration as the Government of Cyprus (and) as a party in the application(s)".

In a communication of 6 June 1975 the respondent Government, referring to the above declaration, submitted that proceedings (under Art. 28) could not start until they had received the final text of the Commission's decision on the admissibility.

32.       The President, having consulted the other members of the Delegation, decided on 10 June 1975 that the meeting with the Parties should be maintained on the ground that the reasoning of the Commission's decision on admissibility was not relevant for the purpose of the meeting.

The respondent Government in a communication of 16 June 1975 invoking Rule 42 (4) of the Commission's Rules of Procedure [30], maintained their position.

33.       At the Delegation's meeting on 19 June 1975 the applicant Government's representatives submitted suggestions concerning the Delegation's provisional programme [31]. The respondent Government were not represented.

The Delegation decided to visit Cyprus in September in order to begin its investigation. Details of this decision were communicated to the Parties who were also informed that the full text of the Commission's decision on admissibility, drafted on the basis of its deliberations in May, would be approved at the Commission's July session and communicated to the Parties immediately thereafter. In accordance with the Commission's practice, however, proceedings under Art. 26 could be started before this communication had taken place; this was not excluded by the Convention nor by Rule 42 (4) of the Rules of Procedure.

34.       In a telex communication of 26 June 1975 the applicant Government contended that Turkey had, in disregard of the Commission's pending proceedings, committed further violations of the Convention, in particular in Famagusta. In a communication of 2 July the applicant Government complained inter alia of expulsions of Greek Cypriots from the north of Cyprus by Turkish military authorities.

35.       The full text of the decision on the admissibility of the applications [32] was approved by the Commission on 12 July and communicated to the Parties on 16 July 1975.

On the Delegation's proposal the Commission at the same time suggested to the respondent Government that a meeting for the discussion of procedural questions be held before 16 August 1975 between representatives of the Government and members of the Delegation; the applicant Government would also be invited to take part.

The respondent Government did not reply to this invitation and the meeting did therefore not take place.

36.       The Particulars of Application No. 6950/75 were filed by the applicant Government on 1 August 1975.

37.       On 1 September 1975 the Delegation [33] met in Nicosia. Between 2 and 6 September 1975 it heard seventeen witnesses, visited two refugee camps and obtained further evidence. Details of this investigation are given in Chapter 5 below.

The respondent Government did not participate in the above investigation and the Delegation therefore decided to hear all witnesses in the absence also of the applicant Government's representatives.

The applicant Government furnished facilities for the investigation, in accordance with Art. 28 para. (a) in fine of the Convention. The respondent Government, although requested to do so, did not offer or provide any facilities.

38.       Details of this. development were as follows: On 1 September 1975 the President and Principal Delegate rang the Turkish Embassy in Nicosia and asked whether the respondent Government would send a representative and whether the Delegates could enter the northern area of Cyprus if they desired to do so. The acting head of mission replied that the Turkish Government maintained their attitude that the taking of evidence by the Delegation was ultra vires given the Government's objections to the Commission's decision on admissibility; and that only the authorities of the Turkish Federated State were competent to authorise taking of evidence in or visits to that area. He advised approach to Mr. Unel or Mr. Orek, the latter designated as acting President of the Federated State, in the absence abroad of Mr. Denktash.

Mr. Orek made a broadcast on 1 September 1975 criticising the one-sided character of the Commission's investigation. After a telephone call by the Principal Delegate he agreed to a meeting. On 4 September MM. Fawcett and Ermacora, with the approval of the Delegation, visited Mr. Orek in the northern sector of Nicosia. It was made clear to him, and in a subsequent broadcast he confirmed it, that the Delegates were visiting him, not in his capacity, as designated acting President, but to invite him, as a leading Turkish Cypriot, to give evidenced to the Delegation or to indicate persons who could give evidence or places that could be usefully visited, in particular Famagusta, in relation to the present applications. His response was that he was not prepared to do or authorise any of these things unless the Commission's investigation were extended to cover complaints by Turkish Cypriots against the regime in Cyprus, since 1963, and in particular in respect of certain incidents at Tokhni and Maratha in 1974. It was pointed out to him that, for various reasons explained, these complaints were outside the competence of the Commission and its Delegation, unless they were relevant to matters raised in the present applications to the Commission or made the subject of distinct applications under Art. 24 of the Convention.

39.       The Principal Delegate also visited Mr. Gorgé, Senior Legal and Political Adviser to UNFICYP, in particular to see whether it or the United Nations could assist the Commission's investigation by provision of evidence or otherwise, and in particular reports of U.N. inquiries into alleged atrocities both on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot side. In a long conversation, in which Mr. Gorgé surveyed the whole situation in the light of his long experience in Cyprus, he explained that it was essential that the absolute impartiality of UNFICYP be secured and that it should therefore not even appear to be assisting an investigation tending against one side or the other in the island. He regretfully said that he could not therefore offer evidence or propose witnesses to the Delegation.

40.       On 11 September 1975 the Delegation communicated to the respondent Government the evidence of one of the witnesses heard in Cyprus who, according to his statements, had together with other Greek Cypriots been deported by the Turkish armed forces to a prison in Adana in Turkey [34]. The Government were invited to furnish facilities for a visit by the Delegation to that prison for the purpose of hearing witnesses and to name any witnesses which they wished to call.

On 6 October 1975 the Permanent Representative of Turkey informed the President of the Commission that his Government could not accept any procedure which implied recognition of the 'Greek Cypriot Administration'. He added that the testimony received was false and that the Government would not provide facilities for an enquiry at Adana [35].

41.       Further particulars of the applications were filed by the applicant Government on 17 September and 3 October 1975.

42.       On 6 and 8 October 1975 the Commission considered the applications in the light of the evidence obtained in Cyprus. The Commission decided to invite the Parties' comments on that evidence and to request them to indicate whether they wished to propose further evidence and to make final submissions on the merits of the applications at a hearing before the Commission.

43.       The applicant Government, in a telex message of 22 October 1975, complained that a large number of Turks from Turkey were being moved into the northern area of Cyprus.

On 10 November 1975 the Government stated that they did not want to make any further submissions.

44.       The respondent Government, in their letter, of 27 November 1975 [36], declared that Turkey "cannot be required to accept the Greek Cypriot Administration as applicant" and that the Turkish Government were consequently unable to participate in any proceedings under Art. 28 of the Convention in the present case.

45.       The applicant Government replied on 10 December 1975 that the views advanced by the respondent Government had already been dealt with in the Commission's decision on the admissibility of the applications. The applicant Government considered that legal proceedings such as the present ones, "whose object is to bring before the Commission alleged violations of the public order of Europe and to ensure the observance of the legal engagements undertaken under the European Convention on Human Rights, cannot depend in any way on whether the State Party against which the charges of violations of human rights are brought before the Commission, does or does not recognise the Government which brings such charges".

46.       On 18 and 19 December 1975 the Commission continued its examination of the applications in the light of the Parties' above communications. It decided to terminate its investigation and, for reasons set out in the following Chapter, to draft Report under Art. 31 of the Convention.

47.       On 10, 11 and 12 March 1976 the Commission considered parts of its draft Report. It decided to invite the Parties to submit such observations as they might wish to make on the applicability of the Convention to a situation of military action as in the present case, bearing in mind Art. 15.

48.       On 14, 15, 17 and 18 May 1976 the Commission continued its examination of the draft Report in the light of the applicant Government's communications of 15 April and 10 May and the respondent Government's communication of 15 April 1976. It decided not to hold a hearing on the applicability of the Convention to a situation of military action as in the present case, as requested by the applicant Government.

49.       On 8, 9 and 10 July 1976 the Commission further continued its consideration of the draft Report. It adopted the present Report on 10 July.


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Notes:

[28] Appendix I to this Report.

[29] Issued by the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe. (The Commission's press communiqué stating that the applications had been declared admissible was released on the same day.)

[30] "The decision of the Commission shall be accompanied by reasons. It shall be communicated by the Secretary of the Commission to the applicant and, except for the case provided for in paragraph 1 of this Rule or where information has been obtained from the applicant only, to the High Contracting Party concerned."

[31] Mentioned at para. 30 above.

[32] Appendix I to this Report.

[33] Mr Frowein did not participate in this investigation.

[34] Witness Pirkettis, see Verbatim Record, pp. 40-57.

[35] A note on this meeting is reproduced at Appendix XIV

[36] See para. 23 above and Appendix II.

 


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