The European Court of Human Rights in a decision of historic importance has awarded Greek Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou the sum of 300.000 Cyprus pounds (1CP= 1,90 US Dollars) as compensation for the continued violation of her right to peaceful enjoyment of her property.
In addition, the court ruled that she is entitled to 20,000 Cyprus pounds in moral damages and a further 137,000 Cyprus pounds to cover her legal costs.
"In view of its earlier findings that the applicant had suffered an unjustified interference with her property rights, which was imputable to Turkey, the court considered that it should make an award under Article 50", the European Court of Human Rights judgement stated.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, soon after the court decision was announced, the Attorney General of the Republic Mr Alekos Markides said that the decision sets a precedent and characterised it as a "landmark in the history of law".
He pointed out that the Council of Ministers will monitor the implementation of the ruling, but explained that the ruling does not exonerate Turkey.
The Council of Ministers has an obligation to force Turkey to give Loizidou access to her property. "It's not the sort of compensation where the state gets the property. Turkey is still liable for Loizidou's continuing inability to enjoy her property", he stated.
Markides stressed that Turkey would be forced to pay the compensation. "No state has so far managed to avoid conforming with an European Court of Human Rights decision, there is no precedent for this" he said.
Achilleas Demetriades, Loizidou's lawyer also stressing the importance of the decision said that "the road is now open for everyone else in Loizidou's shoes to file a petition to the Council of Europe".
It is the first time an international legal body has condemned Turkey and ordered the country to pay damages over human rights violations as a result of the continuing Turkish occupation of Cyprus' northern areas.
The case of Loizidou vs Republic of Turkey was filed in 1989. Seven years later, in December 1996, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had violated Loizidou's rights by denying her access to her property. In November 1997, the court reserved its final decision on whether Turkey should pay compensation to Titina Loizidou. The European Court of Human Rights decision yesterday ends Loizidou's legal battle over the violation of her right to property.
PANCYPRIAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS