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


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Chapter 6 - Difficulties arising in the establishment of the facts in the present case

76.       Before examining the applicant Government's allegations [52], the Commission would draw attention to certain difficulties which, in the special circumstances of the present case, have arisen in the establishment of the facts, and to the solutions adopted to meet these difficulties.

I. Scope of the allegations

77.       One of the characteristic of the present case is the sheer number of alleged violations of the Convention.

The Commission therefore had to restrict its investigation of alleged violations and has tested only a limited number of cases selected as representative.

II. Government in the proceedings on the merits

78.       The respondent Government, as already stated [53], did not participate in the Commission's proceedings under Art. 28 (a) of the Convention: apart from the statement mentioned above [54] they did not make any submissions, or propose evidence, on the alleged violations, nor offer facilities for the Commission's investigation, as provided for in Art. 28 (a) in fine; the Commission's Delegation was refused entry into Turkey [55] end any co-operation by Turkish or Turkish Cypriot authorities for an investigation in the north of Cyprus [56].

79.       In the absence of any submissions by the respondent Government the Commission, for the reasons stated above [57], proceeded with its establishment of the facts on the basis of the material before it.

III. Character of the evidence

80.       Evidence relating to the applicant Government's allegations has to a great extent been provided in the testimony of witnesses named and in documents, including written statements, submitted by this Government. Moreover, all witnesses heard, including those selected by the Delegation were Greek Cypriots.

81.       Nevertheless, the evidence before the Commission, and the facts established on the basis of this evidence, cannot be seen as presenting a view of the events and incidents complained of mainly from the Greek Cypriot aide. The Commission observes in this connection that:

-         certain events and incidents referred to in the applications are in great part a matter of public knowledge. In particular, the massive movement of population from the northern to the southern part of Cyprus after 20 July 1974 is an undisputable fact which, as such, calls for no particular investigation;

-         the Commission has based its findings in part on reports of other international organisations, in particular the United Nations;

-         the witnesses heard by the Commission's Delegation in Cyprus testified, with little exception, with a restraint and objectivity that gave credibility to their testimony; some of them [58] confirmed a number of statements in the Particulars of the Applications about which they could not have had any direct knowledge;

-         in the evaluation of the evidence before it, the Commission has refrained from drawing any conclusions from the fact that the respondent Government, despite every opportunity being offered to them, failed to make any statements, or to propose counter-evidence, on the applicant Government's allegations.

82.       The Commission further observes in this connection that, as a full investigation of all the facts has not been possible, it will in its establishment of the facts distinguish between:

-         matters of common knowledge;

-         facts established to the satisfaction of the Commission;

-         evidence which ranges from bare indications, the establishment of a prima facie case to strong indications [59];

-         allegations for which no relevant evidence has been found.

IV. Responsibility of Turkey under the Convention

83.       In its decision on the admissibility of the present applications, the Commission found that the Turkish armed forces in Cyprus brought any persons or property there "within the jurisdiction" of Turkey, in the sense of Art. 1 of the Convention, "to the extent that they exercise control over such persons or property".

84.       In the light of its above decision, the Commission has examined, with regard to each of the complaints considered [60], whether or not the acts committed were imputable to Turkey under the Convention.

85.       The Commission finally observes that the substance of the present applications required it to confine its investigation essentially to acts and incidents for which Turkey, as a High Contracting Party, might be held responsible. Alleged violations of the Convention by Cyprus could be taken into account as such only if Turkey or another High Contracting Party had raised them in an application to the Commission under Art. 24 of the Convention [61].

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[52] In Part II of this Report.

[53] Cf. para. 4 above.

[54] Para. 40 in fine.

[55] Cf. para. 40 in fine.

[56] Cf. para. 38.

[57] See Chapter 4.

[58] MM. Pirkettis, Kanikledes, Kyprianou, and Mr and Mrs Ephtymiou.

[59] Cf the Commission's Report in the First Greek Case, Yearbook 12, p. 504.

[60] In Part II of this Report.

[61] Cf para. 38 in fine.