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Media Watch 2007

02 July 2007
Source: Cyprus News Agency
Author:
Comment: The following is a report of the Cyprus News Agency of Nicosia of 2 July 2007.
Cypriot Attorney-General describes British Court of Appeal decision in Orams case 'significant'
The decision of Britain's Court of Appeal, to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Communities for consideration, the hearing into a property case involving a Greek refugee and a British couple, is especially significant because it refers to the relevant court the resolution of issues which decisively affect the property issue in the occupied north, said here Monday Attorney-General Petros Clerides.

"Nicosia, Jul 2 (CNA) - The decision of Britain's Court of Appeal, to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Communities for consideration, the hearing into a property case involving a Greek refugee and a British couple, is especially significant because it refers to the relevant court the resolution of issues which decisively affect the property issue in the occupied north, said here Monday Attorney-General Petros Clerides.

In a statement issued today, Clerides said that in this way, important issues which concern properties of refugees will be judged on the basis of the European community law, through an international, impartial court.

He said that in the event the decision will be favourable for Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides, this will solidify an important legal medium for refugees to claim their property rights against those who embezzle them, noting that their properties, which are within the EU, will always be subject to measures being taken based on EU law.

The property case involves a British couple, David and Linda Orams, and Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides.

In 2004 the Nicosia District Court ordered Linda and David Orams to demolish a house they had built in Apostolides' land and pay compensation to him. The Court ruling was not enforced because of the Orams' appeal against it.

The case was brought to Court by Apostolides, from the village of Lapithos, west of Kyrenia, when having visited Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas he saw the house the Orams had built on his land.

In 2005, the Nicosia District Court upheld its previous decision in an appeal by the Orams couple.

In 2006, the British High Court said it could not enforce the ruling of the Nicosia District Court in November 2004 because EU legislation was not applicable in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas. Apostolides appealed against this decision.

The internationally recognised government of Cyprus is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction in the northern part of the country because of the continuing military occupation by Turkey.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in December 1996 that Turkey, by virtue of its military presence in northern Cyprus, exercises effective control on that part of the island and is therefore responsible for what happens there. It also said that the Turkish Cypriot regime is a local administration subordinate to Turkey.

The Cypriot Attorney-General said that the Republic of Cyprus, as an EU member state, will and has the right, to exercise the right to intervene before the Court of Justice of the European Communities, to express both orally and in writing, its positions on the issues under question."