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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cypriot Group Files Historic War Crimes Complaint In Hague Against Turkey

A coalition of Cypriots, including a European parliamentarian, have filed a criminal complaint against Turkish government officials in the International Criminal Court ("ICC") in The Hague today. The petitioners call on the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation into ongoing Turkish crimes on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, and in particular, the continued growth of Turkish settlements in the occupied territory. The Turkish occupation is one of the most brazen settlement enterprises in modern times, as colonists from the Turkish mainland now constitute as much as half the population of the occupied territory.

The communication is being filed by the Hon. Kostas Mavrides, a member of the European Parliament from Cyprus and Cypriots Against Turkish War Crimes (CATWR), an association of mainly Cypriots and refugees from the Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus

The Shurat HaDin Law Center assisted in researching and drafting the complaint. 

This unprecedented demand for a war crimes investigation seeks to end the impunity Turkey has enjoyed for its criminal conduct since it invaded the island Republic on July 20, 1974.  Turkey's settlement activity in northern Cyprus is well-documented, having been recognized by the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. Yet despite this, and despite its occupation of an EU member state, Turkey and its leaders have avoided any legal consequences for their crimes. 

An investigation by the Court's prosecutor would be the first attempt to shine the harsh light of international criminal justice on the Turkish occupation.  The complaint demonstrates that Turkey is in blatant and systematic violation of Art. 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Court's Statute, which prohibits an occupying power from directly or indirectly transferring its civilians into the occupied territory. Turkey has, continuously since the invasion, recruited, encouraged and transported Turks from rural areas of the mainland to come settle the occupied territory.  The demographic magnitude of the settler establishment threatens the feasibility of a mutually-acceptable end to the conflict.

According to MEP Kostas Mavrides : "The settlement and other crimes committed in the occupied part of Cyprus by Turkish officers is not a political issue. It is a matter of international law and justice. Now, it is up to the ICC to investigate the facts and decide in favour of civilization and human rights."

Cyprus has been a member of the Court since its establishment in 2002.  No nation recognizes the legitimacy of sovereignty of the Turkish occupation regime in northern Cyprus. Thus, the ICC clearly has jurisdiction over the war crimes committed by the Turkish government in the occupied territory. 

CATWR is represented by Athan Tsimpedes based in Washington DC, who has initiated a lawsuit against the illegal occupation in the US Courts. 
To view the communication CLICK HERE

SOURCE Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center
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