January 16, 2018

Press Release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Missing Persons

On 4-6 June the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies (Human Rights) of the Council of Europe (CoE) met in Strasbourg and discussed the humanitarian issue of missing persons, through the supervision of the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the cases of (1) Cyprus against Turkey and (2) Varnava and Others against Turkey.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus expresses its satisfaction with the adopted decisions of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies of the CoE, whereby for the first time there is inclusion of a clear reference to military zones and relevant information contained in archives and reports of the Turkish army. Furthermore, the Committee underlines the urgent need for Turkey to effectively investigate both the cases of people whose remains have been identified, and those whose fate is still unknown. Moreover, for the first time, there is a clear and distinct reference to investigative officers, thus separating Turkey’s responsibility from the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.

Specifically, the Committee of Ministers calls on Turkey, inter alia, to:

– adopt a proactive approach as regards effective investigations into the fate of persons who are still missing, reiterating its request for further concrete information on the steps taken by the Turkish authorities aimed at giving the CMP and investigative officers access to all relevant information and places, in particular concerning military zones;
– to provide replies to all the questions raised by the Committee, while also drawing on all relevant information contained in military archives and reports.

Concerning the Varnava case, the Committee called upon the Turkish authorities to provide further information on the conduct of investigations concerning the specific persons referred to in the said judgment, as well as on the payment of just satisfaction granted by the Court.

With the adoption of the Decisions, which is the culmination of the systematic efforts of the Government, the Law Office and the other competent authorities of the Republic, the Committee sends a very clear message to Turkey to assume its responsibility and comply, at long last, with its obligations stemming from the judgments of the ECHR, for the benefit of the relatives of missing persons. The Decisions reaffirm the resolve of the Member-States of the CoE to take the appropriate measures that will lead Turkey to fully comply with the ECHR judgments, and that half-measures and evasive policies will not be accepted.