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Media Watch 2005

20 May 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Alex Efthyvoulos
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 20 May 2005.
Appeal to deaf ears? Tassos urges panEuropean conference for action on Rights Court verdicts
"...There is an urgent need for restoration and respect for the human rights of all Cypriots. It is my firm belief that the contemporary aspirations of the parties involved in the Cyprus problem can and should contribute towards the restoration of human rights on the island." President Papadopoulos also stressed that "the execution of all judgements, within a reasonable time frame is indispensable to the credibility of the (Human Rights) Convention... Failure to address this effectively will undermine the achievements of the last 50 years and put at risk the very foundations of European human rights protection..."

Addressing the 40 other European leaders attending the pan-European summit in Warsaw this week President Tassos Papadopoulos made an impassioned appeal for action to ensure that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are respected and implemented without delay. 

"Our most urgent task is to address the long-standing fundamental question of the execution of the Court's judgements," Papadopoulos told the summit. "We should elaborate,  without further delay, all those additional measures which are essential in ensuring the future effectiveness of the (Human Rights) Convention and the Court," he stressed.

Sticking to the diplomatic conventions of such gatherings, which ordinary people consider nonsensical, President Papadopoulos avoided pointing an accusing finger at Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was also attending the summit. He avoided accusing Turkey of  refusing to comply with a series of judgements of the Rights Court that found it guilty in connection with its occupation of north Cyprus and ordered it to allow Greek Cypriot refugees to return, to repossess their properties and to pay them hefty compensation for the loss of use of these properties.

"Urgent need for restoration and respect for the human rights of all Cypriots"
  
He left it to those listening to his address to link what he was saying with Turkey when he said that the recent history of Cyprus "has been marked by grave violations of fundamental human rights of our citizens by the foreign military forces which occupy about 37 percent of Cyprus....There is an urgent need for restoration and respect for the human rights of all Cypriots. It is my firm belief that the contemporary aspirations of the parties involved in the Cyprus problem can and should contribute towards the restoration of human rights on the island."  
President Papadopoulos also stressed that ``the execution of all judgements, within a reasonable time frame is indispensable to the credibility of the (Human Rights) Convention. We must finally react to this acute problem and our response must be immediate and outrageous. Failure to address this effectively will undermine the achievements of the last 50 years and put at risk the very foundations of European human rights protection."

 He concluded his address declaring that "Cyprus expects that this summit will mark the beginning for a strong and refocused Council of Europe, uniting its member states under a common identity of shared values and principles. The Council should concentrate on the areas in which it excels, with the primacy given to the consolidation and unconditional enforcement of human rights and standards. This is the vision of Cyprus for the Council of Europe of the 21st century.''
Shadow boxing

All these are certainly fine, punchy declarations. But, without a direct reference to Turkey, they are more like shadow boxing, allowing the guilty party to continue with its contemptuous rejection of the Court judgements with complete impunity, and the other member states of the Council of Europe to continue themselves to close their eyes and ears to Turkey's continuing actions in Cyprus that amount to war crimes.

President Papadopoulos did say in his address that the greatest achievement of the CoE "is the European Convention of Human Rights and its supervisory mechanism."
He said "the Convention must remain the essential reference point of protection of human rights in Europe as a whole. We need to secure, irrespective of cost or political considerations, the credibility and the long-term effectiveness of the Convention's system and the values it represents. This is our most important responsibility.

He could have added a final appeal to the other leaders to live up to this responsibility there and then, by warning all those member states that refuse to comply with the Court's judgements that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
He could have done this without mentioning Turkey by name - the punch would have hit its target and would non have been mere shadow boxing!"