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Media Watch 2006

07 September 2006
Source: Cyprus News Agency
Author:
Comment: The following is a report of the Cyprus News Agency of 7 September 2006.
Cyprus–Orams
"The Cypriot government has underlined that Greek Cypriots remain the owners of their land in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus and that those buying property not belonging to them are acting illegally."

"The Cypriot government has underlined that Greek Cypriots remain the owners of their land in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus and that those buying property not belonging to them are acting illegally.

The statement was made by Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis, in response to yesteray's ruling of the High Court in Britain in favour of a British couple regarding the land on which they built a villa in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, belonging to a Greek Cypriot.

The High Court said it could not enforce the ruling of the Nicosia District Court in November 2004 which had ordered Robert and Linda Orams to return the land, in the Turkish-occupied part of the island, on which the couple had built a house. The land belongs to Meletis Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot refugee from Lapithos. The Cypriot Court had also ordered the Orams to pay compensation to Apostolides for the loss of use of his property.

It also ruled that Protocol 10 of the Accession Treaty has "no effect in relation to matters which relate to the area" controlled by the occupation regime and that "this prevents Apostolides relying on it to seek to enforce the judgments which he has obtained in the Cypriot court."

In a written statement, Pashiardis pointed out that the British court was reluctant to become involved in the procedure to execute the decision of the Cypriot court against those who illegally possess Greek Cypriot properties.

According to the British judge, Pashiardis noted, "this seems to be an international problem, ill-suited to be resolved by private litigation,"noting that the cases which the judge had cited in the European Court of Human Rights "show that compensation can be obtained at a higher level of litigation, with the state of Turkey as the defendant."

Pashiardis stressed that Apostolides has secured a right to appeal the decision at the British Court of Appeals, noting there is also the possibility of referring the case to the European Communities Court in Luxembourg.

"Meanwhile, there are other procedures which Mr. Apostolides can use for the execution of the decision taken by the Cypriot court," the Spokesman pointed out, adding that "whatever the technical details, the decision makes it clear that those who disregard the rights of land owners, violate ownership and legal procedures could be taken against them."

The Cypriot Government Spokesman pointed out that "Greek Cypriots remain owners of their land in the occupied areas," adding that the British court supported the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in other cases before it.

"Persons who illegally take ownership and claim to be the 'new owners' are not owners but violate other peoples' property and should be treated accordingly. They are committing the offence of violating other peoples' property," the Spokesman stressed.

He also noted that "anyone who buys or possesses property which does not belong to him is acting illegally and violates other peoples' property and legal procedures might commence against him.""