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General Assembly Resolutions

United Nations General Assembly - Resolution 3220 (XXIX)
(showing the line the United Nations follows on missing persons issues)


Assistance and cooperation in accounting for persons who are missing or dead in armed conflicts

3220 XXIX
Date 8 November 1974
Meeting 2278
Vote 95-9-32
Report A/9829

The General Assembly, Recalling that one of the purposes of the United Nations is the promotion of international cooperation in solving international problems of a humanitarian character,

Regretting that, in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, resort to force has continued to occur, causing loss of human lives, widespread devastation and other forms of human suffering,

Reaffirming that it is one of the fundamental obligations of Member States to ensure and promote international peace and security by preventing or ending armed conflicts,

Recognizing that one of the tragic results of armed conflicts is the lack of information on persons - civilians as well as combatants - who are missing or dead in armed conflicts.

Noting with satisfaction resolution V, adopted by the twenty-second International Conference of the Red Cross held at Teheran from 28 October to 15 November 1973, calling on parties to armed conflicts to accomplish the humanitarian task of accounting far the missing and dead in armed conflicts, 10,

Bearing in mind the inadmissibility of a refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions of 1949, 11/1,

Reaffirming the urgent need to ensure full adherence to, and effective implementation of, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on the protection of war victims by all States, in particular, those signatures to the Geneva Conventions of 1949,

Considering that the desire to know the fate of loved ones lost in armed conflicts is a basic human need which should be satisfied to the greatest extent possible, and that provision of information on those who are missing or who have died in armed conflicts should not be delayed merely because other issues remain pending.

1. Reaffirms the applicability of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to all armed conflicts as stipulated by those Conventions,

2. Calls upon parties to armed conflicts, regardless of their character or location, during and after the end of hostilities and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to take such action as may be within their power to help locate and mark the graves of the dead, to facilitate the disinterment and the return of remains, If requested by their families, and to provide information about those who are missing in action,

3. Appreciates the continuing efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross to assist in the task of accounting for the missing and dead in armed conflicts,

4. Calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to cooperate, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 1949, with protecting Powers or their substitutes and with the International Committee of the Red Cross providing information on the missing and dead in armed conflicts, including persons belonging to other countries not parties to the armed conflict,

5. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of the second session of the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts.

RESOLUTION 3450 (XXX)

Adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1975 on the question of missing persons in Cyprus

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 3212(XXIX) of 1 November 1974,

Noting resolution 4(XXXI) of the Commission on Human Rights on 13. February 1975,

Gravely concerned about the fate of a considerable number of Cypriots who are missing as a result of armed conflict in Cyprus,

Appreciating the work of the International Committee of the Red (7ra.ss in this field.

Reaffirming the basic human need of families in Cyprus to be informed about missing relatives,

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to exert every effort in close cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross in assisting the tracing of and accounting for missing persons as a result of armed conflict in Cyprus;
  2. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Commission on Human Rights at its thirty-second session with information relevant to the implementation of the present resolution.

Adopted at the 2433rd meeting by 106 votes to none with 26 abstentions.

RESOLUTION 32/128

Adopted by the General Assembly on 16 December 1977 on the question of missing persons in Cyprus

The General Assembly,

Concerned at the lack of progress towards the tracing of and accounting for missing persons in Cyprus;

Expressing the hope that the informal discussions now taking place to establish a joint committee to trace missing persons are successful,

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to provide his good offices through his Special Representative in Cyprus to support the establishment of an Investigatory Body with the participation of the International Committee of the Red Cross which would be in a position to function impartially, effectively and speedily so as to resolve the problem without undue delay;
  2. Invites the parties concerned to continue cooperating in the establishment of the Investigatory Body and work out the modalities with a view to activating it expeditiously.


Adopted at the 105th meeting, without a vote.

Adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1975 on the question of missing persons in Cyprus

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 3212(XXIX) of 1 November 1974,

Noting resolution 4(XXXI) of the Commission on Human Rights on 13. February 1975,

Gravely concerned about the fate of a considerable number of Cypriots who are missing as a result of armed conflict in Cyprus,

Appreciating the work of the International Committee of the Red (7ra.ss in this field.

Reaffirming the basic human need of families in Cyprus to be informed about missing relatives,

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to exert every effort in close cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross in assisting the tracing of and accounting for missing persons as a result of armed conflict in Cyprus;
  2. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Commission on Human Rights at its thirty-second session with information relevant to the implementation of the present resolution.

Adopted at the 2433rd meeting by 106 votes to none with 26 abstentions.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 33/173

33/173. Disappeared persons

The General Assembly,

Recalling the provisions of the Universal Declara­tion of Human Rights, in particular articles 3, 5, 9, 10 and 11 concerning, inter alia, the right to life, liberty and security of person, freedom from torture, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and the right to a fair and public trial, and the provisions of articles 6, 7, 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which define and establish safe­guards for certain of these rights,

Deeply concerned by reports from various parts of the world relating to enforced or involuntary disap­pearances of persons as a result of excesses on the part of law enforcement or security authorities or similar organizations, often while such persons are subject to detention or imprisonment, as well as of unlawful ac­tions or widespread violence,

Concerned also at reports of difficulties in obtaining reliable information from competent authorities as to the circumstances of such persons, including reports of the persistent refusal of such authorities or organiza­tions to acknowledge that they hold such persons in their custody or otherwise to account for them,

Mindful of the danger to the life, liberty and physical security of such persons arising from the persistent failure of these authorities or organizations to acknow­ledge that such persons are held in custody or other­wise to account for them,

Deeply moved by the anguish and sorrow which such circumstances cause to the relatives of disap­peared persons, especially to spouses, children and

parents,

1. Calls upon Governments:

(a) In the event of reports of enforced or in­voluntary disappearances, to devote appropriate re­sources to searching for such persons and to undertake speedy and impartial investigations;

(b) To ensure that law enforcement and security authorities or organizations are fully accountable, es­pecially in law, in the discharge of their duties, such accountability to include legal responsibility for un­justifiable excesses which might lead to enforced or involuntary disappearances and to other violations of human rights;

(c) To ensure that the human rights of all persons, including those subjected to any form of detention and imprisonment, are fully respected;

(d) To co-operate with other Governments, re­levant United Nations organs, specialized agencies, in­tergovernmental organizations and humanitarian bodies in a common effort to search for, locate or account for such persons in the event of reports of enforced or involuntary disappearances;

2. Requests the Commission on Human Rights to consider the question of disappeared persons with a view to making appropriate recommendations;

3. Urges the Secretary-General to continue to use his good offices in cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances of persons, drawing, as appropriate, upon the relevant experience of the International Com­mittee of the Red Cross and of other humanitarian organizations;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to draw the con­cerns expressed in the present resolution to the atten­tion of all Governments, regional and interregional organizations and specialized agencies for the purpose of conveying on an urgent basis the need for disin­terested humanitarian action to respond to the situation of persons who have disappeared.

90th plenary meeting 20 December 1978

RESOLUTION 36/164

Adopted by the General Assembly on 16 December 1981 on the question of missing persons in Cyprus

The General Assembly,

Recalling its previous resolutions on the question of the missing persons in Cyprus,

Reaffirming the basic human need of families to be informed, without further delay, about the fate of their missing relatives,

Having in mind that agreement was reached, on 19 May 1979, during the high-level meeting held in Nicosia under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Welcoming also the agreement establishing the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, referred to in the report of the Secretary-General of 27 May 1981, S/14490, including the oral agreement of 26 March 1981 concerning the attendance of representatives of the committees of relatives of missing persons at the meetings of the Commitee;

Regretting the fact that due to procedural difficulties no progress has been achieved towards the commencement of the Committee's investigative work,

  1. Urges that the Committee proceed without any further delay, with its investigative work for the tracing of and accounting for missing persons in Cyprus;
  2. Calls upon the parties concerned to facilitate, in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill, the Committee on Missing Persons in carrying out its investigative task;
  3. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices for the unhindered functioning of the Committee on Missing Persons.

Adopted at the 101st meeting, without a vote.

RESOLUTION 37/181

Adopted by the General Assembly on 17 December 1982

on the question of missing persons in Cyprus

The General Assembly,

Recalling its previous resolutions on the question of the missing persons in Cyprus,

Reaffirming the basic human need of families to be informed, without further delay, about the fate of their missing relatives,

Expressing concern that the Committee on Missing Persons m Cyprus, the establishment of which was announced on 22 April 1981, has failed to overcome procedural difficulties and has achieved no progress towards the commencement of its investigative work,

Emphasizing the need for a speedy resolution of this humanitarian problem,

  1. Invites the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the Commission on Human Rights to follow developments and to recommend ways and means to the parties concerned with a view to overcoming the pending procedural difficulties of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and in cooperation with it to facilitate the effective implementation of its investigative work on the basis of the existing relevant agreements;
  2. Calls upon the parties concerned to facilitate such investigation In a spirit of co-operation and goodwill;
  3. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices with a view to facilitating the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.

Adopted at the I 10th meeting, without a vote.

Committee on Missing Persons (C.M.P.)

Office of Public Information
Press Section
United Nations, New York

CYP/1051
22 April 1981

AGREEMENT REACHED ON ESTABLISHMENT OF MISSING PERSONS COMMITTEE IN CYPRUS

(Received from a United Nations spokesman in Nicosia)

At a brief ceremony in the Ledra Palace United Nations conference area in Nicosia today (22 April), the Special Representative of the Secretary-Ceneral, Hugo J. Cobbi, made the following statement in the presence of representatives of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities:

"0n behalf of the Secretary-General, I am very pleased to announce that agreement has been reached by the two sides on the terms of reference for the establishment of a Committee on missing persons in Cyprus.

"The Secretary-General has asked me to thank both sides for their important co-operation which has made this agreement possible. In particular, I wish to thank the representatives of the two sides who, over the past few months, were engaged in intensive efforts to bring about the setting up of this Committee. The Secretary-General also wishes to thank the International Committee of the Red Cross for its co-operation in facilitating this significant achievement.

"On the basis of this agreement, it is possible now to proceed to, the establishment of the Committee.

"This development represents a very important step forward in the solution of a long-standing issue of vast concern to the two sides.

"Furthermore, we hope the efforts of the Committee on missing persons will strengthen the spirit of co-operation and the joint endeavour undertaken in the framework of the intercommunal talks."

300.11

TERMS OF REFERENCE

Establishment of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus

  • A committee on missing persons in Cyprus will be formed immediately consisting of three members. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides will each appoint one humanitarian person to the committee. The third member will be an official selected by the ICRC for that purpose with the agreement of both sides and appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • The decisions of the committee will be taken by consensus to the extent possible. In the event of disagreement between the representatives of the two sides, the third member shall consult both of them with a view to bringing their views together and reaching a consensus.
  • Each of the committee members can be assisted by up to two staff assistants as necessary. No other persons will participate in the deliberations or investigative work of the committee. No person directly involved with the issue of missing persons may be appointed as staff assistant. The committee will not request outside expert assistance.
  • The committee will not have a chairman, but the meetings will be directed by the members on a rotating basis for a period of one month's duration --- the first director will be the official of the ICRC, to be followed by the Turkish Cypriot member or the Greek Cypriot member, to be determined at the first meeting by lot.
  • The three members of the committee will meet immediately and will continue in regularly scheduled sessions for as long as required.
  • All parties concerned shall co-operate with the committee to ensure access throughout the island for the investigative work of the committee.
  • The committee shall look only into cases of persons reported missing in the intercommunal fightings as well as in the events of July 1974 and afterwards.

International Committee of Red Cross (I.C.R.C)

The XXIVth International Conference of the Red Cross

FORCED OR INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES

The XXIVth International Conference of the Red Cross,

alarmed at the phenomenon of forced or involuntary disappearances, perpetrated, connived at or consented to by governments,

deeply moved by the great suffering such disappearances cause not only to the missing persons themselves and their families but also to society,

considering that such disappearances imply violations of fundamental human rights such as the right to life, freedom and personal safety, the right not to be submitted to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained, and the right to a just and public trial,

pointing out that families have a right to be informed of the whereabouts, health and welfare of their members, a right which is laid down in various resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly,

commending the efforts of the ICRC, the Working Group established by the UN Commission on Human Rights to investigate the phenomenon of forced or involuntary disappearances and various impartial humanitarian organizations for the benefit of missing persons and their families,

  1. condemns any action resulting in forced or involuntary disappearances, conducted or perpetrated by governments or with their connivance or consent,
  2. recommends that the ICRC take any appropriate action which might reveal the fate of missing persons or bring their families relief and urges that the ICRC Central Tracing Agency and any other impartial humanitarian organization be granted the facilities necessary to take effective action in this matter,
  3. urges governments to endeavour to prevent forced or involuntary disappearances and to undertake and complete thorough inquiries into every case of disappearance occurring in their territory,
  4. urges governments to co-operate with humanitarian organizations, and with the relevant bodies of the United Nations and of intergovernmental organizations, in particular those which investigate forced or involuntary disappearances, with a view to putting an end to that phenomenon.

Amnesty International

VII. MISSING PERSONS

88. The general question of missing persons or "enforced disappearances" was on the agenda of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in September 1984. In the conclusions of his report (Doc. 5273) Mr. Verde wrote:

"Enforced disappearance is one of the most serious violations of the human rights safeguarded by international instruments: it infringes virtually all the victims' personal rights and many of the rights of their families. The violations are also contrary to the 1949 Geneva conventions and cannot be justified by special circumstances whether armed conflict, state of ermergency or internal unrest or tension. Under international law (eg. Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) there can be no derogation from the obligation to respect a "hard core" of rights, comprising the right to life, protection against torture and the universal right to recognition as a person before the law, which are infringed in the event of enforced disappearance. The breach is so serious that it should elicit the most severe international sanctions."

89. The Assembly took much the same view as Mr Verde and, after discussing his report, adopted Resolution 828 (1984) on enforced disappearances. There it branded these disappearances as "a flagrant violation of a whole series of human rights" and called on the governments of United Nations member states "to support the preparation and adoption by the United Nations of a declaration declaring that ?enforced disappearances' is a crime against humanity" and therefore "not subject to limitation".

"Disappearances" constitute a clear violation of international law. When a person has been taken into custody and the authorities nonetheless deny knowledge of this, internationally guaranteed human rights are contravened, such as: the right to security of the person; the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention and the right to an effective remedy for acts violating fundamental rights, as guaranteed by Articles 3, 9 and 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 9 and 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

A "disappearance" also contravenes Rule 92 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which states that "an untried prisoner shall be allowed to inform immediately his family of his detention and shall be given all reasonable facilities for communicating with his family and friends... The UN Commission on Human Rights, in Resolution 1986/55, expressed "its emotion at the anguish and sorrow of the families concerned, who should know the fate of their relatives". The suffering caused by a disappearance to the relatives, as well as to the victim, in itself contravenes the right not to be tortured or subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment".

Moreover, a person who has disappeared may have been tortured or killed in custody in violation of the rights guaranteed respectively by Articles 5 and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 7 and 6 of the ICCPR. The right to life and the right not to be tortured are absolute rights enshrined in these articles from which no state may derogate even in situations of publicly declared emergency as defined in Article 4 of the ICCPR.

Council of Europe

Committee of Human Rights

EUROPEAN COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

APPLICATIONS Nos. 6780/74 AND 6950/75

CYPRUS
AGAINST
TURKEY

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION

(Adopted on 10 July 1976)

What follows is the conclusion of the European Commission on Human Rights, concerning the missing persons in Cyprus.

II. Missing persons

351. The Commission considers that there is a presumption of Turkish responsibility for the fate of persons shown to have been in Turkish custody. However, on the basis of the material before it, the Commission has been unable to ascertain whether, and under what circumstances, Greek Cypriot prisoners declared to be missing have been deprived of their life.

90th plenary meeting 20th December 1978

Assistance and co-operation in accounting for persons who are missing or dead in armed conflicts

EUROPEAN COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

APPLICATION No 8007/77

CYPRUS
AGAINST
TURKEY

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION

(Adopted on 4 October 1983)

RESOLUTION DH (92) 12

(adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 2 April 1992 at the 473rd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

I. Missing persons (para 123 above)

The Commission, having found it established in three cases, and having found sufficient indications in an indefinite number of cases, that Greek Cypriots who are still missing were unlawfully deprived of their liberty, in Turkish custody in 1974, noting that Turkey has failed to account for the fate of these persons, concludes by 16 votes against 1 that Turkey has violated Art 5 of the Convention.

European Court of Human Rights

Case of Cyprus v. Turkey
(Application no. 25781/94)
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE JUDGMENT
NICOSIA, 10 May 2001

B. Missing Persons

The Court dealt with human rights violations regarding missing persons as follows:

•  The Court would not decide whether such persons were alive or dead or had been killed in circumstances making Turkey responsible (§121).

8. The Court noted that Turkey's authorities had never investigated claims by relatives that missing persons had disappeared after being detained in circumstances where there was real cause to fear for their welfare. There was no official follow up to Mr. Denktash's alarming statement on 1 March 1996, admitting that the Turkish army had handed over Greek Cypriot prisoners to Turkish Cypriot fighters under Turkish command and that these prisoners had then been killed. No attempt was made to find where their bodies were disposed of (§§129 and 134). Turkish authorities' failure to investigate effectively with an aim to clarify the whereabouts and fate of Greek Cypriot missing persons who disappeared in life-threatening circumstances was a continuing violation of the procedural obligation under Article 2 to protect the right to life.

9. This failure of the authorities of the Republic of Turkey was also a continuing violation of Article 5 of the Convention in respect of any missing persons who were arguably in custody at the time they disappeared (§150).

10. The Court commented on the agony of relatives who did not know whether family members had been killed in the conflict, were still in detention or had since died. The Court concluded that "the silence of the authorities... in the face of the real concerns of the relatives of the missing persons attains a level of severity which can only be categorised as inhuman treatment within the meaning of Article 3" (§157).

Committee of Ministers

Interim Resolution CM/ResDH(2007)25
concerning the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 10 May 2001
in the case of Cyprus against Turkey


(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 4 April 2007,
at the 992nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”),

Having regard to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) in the case of Cyprus against Turkey (application No. 25781/94) delivered on 10 May 2001 and transmitted the same day to the Committee of Ministers under Article 46 of the Convention;

Recalling that the Court, in this judgment, found fourteen violations of the Convention relating to a number of issues regarding the situation in northern Cyprus since the military intervention by Turkey in July and August 1974;

Recalling that the obligation incumbent on all states to comply with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights under Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Convention entails an obligation to adopt measures to put an end to the violations found, to erase as far as possible their consequences and to prevent new violations similar to those found by the Court;

Emphasising that the need to adopt such measures in this case is all the more pressing given the violations at issue, as well as the time that has elapsed since they were found;

Recalling that the execution of the judgment by Turkey has been regularly examined by the Committee since June 2001;

Recalling that, on 7 June 2005, a first Interim Resolution in this case was adopted, which concerned in particular the issue of missing persons, certain aspects of the issue of living conditions of Greek Cypriots living in the north, in particular regarding education and the freedom of religion, and the issue relating to the rights of military courts to judge civilians;

Recalling that in view of the abrogation of the right of military courts to judge civilians, the examination of the last mentioned issue was closed by that same Interim Resolution;

Having focused its examination, since the adoption of the above-mentioned Interim Resolution, more particularly on the issue of missing persons, on specific aspects of the living conditions of Greek Cypriots in northern Cyprus, in particular education and freedom of religion, and, since February 2006, on the issue of the home and property of displaced persons; having taken note of developments regarding these issues and the information furnished by Turkey on additional measures taken or envisaged following the judgment (see appendix);

Issue of missing persons

Stressing that the Court noted in particular the continuing absence of effective investigations into the fate of missing Greek Cypriots, as well as the silence of the Turkish authorities in the face of the real concerns of the relatives of missing persons (continuing violation of Articles 2,3 and 5 of the Convention);

Recalling in this respect that, after a long period of inactivity, the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), set up in 1981 under the aegis of the United Nations, was reactivated at the end of August of 2004 and that a special information unit has been set up for families within the Office of the Turkish Cypriot member of the CMP;

Noting with satisfaction in this context that, in the framework of the Exhumation and Identification Programme, launched in August 2006 under the auspices of the CMP, exhumations have been performed all over Cyprus and anthropological analysis of remains found is being conducted in an anthropological laboratory established in the buffer zone, for purposes of identification of those remains;

Recalling however once again, that the Court found that “although the CMP's procedures are undoubtedly useful for the humanitarian purpose for which they were established, they are not of themselves sufficient to meet the standard of an effective investigation required by Article 2 of the Convention, especially in view of the narrow scope of that body's investigations” (§135 of the judgment) and its territorial jurisdiction, which is limited to the island of Cyprus (§27 of the judgment);

Noting that the CMP has the mandate to draw up an exhaustive list of missing persons of both communities, to determine whether they are alive or dead, and, in the latter case, determine the approximate date of their deaths;

Welcoming the concrete measures taken in the framework of this mandate, and in particular through the aforementioned Exhumation and Identification Programme, which clearly evidence a positive development in the execution of the present judgment;

Recalling however that additional measures are required in order to ensure full compliance with the Court's judgment as regards the requirements of effective investigations, aimed at clarifying the whereabouts and fate of Greek-Cypriot missing persons who disappeared in life-threatening circumstances or of whom there is an arguable claim that they were in custody when they disappeared, and regretting that, since the adoption of the first Interim Resolution in this case, Turkey has furnished no information in this respect;

Emphasising again the urgency of this issue,

WELCOMES the progress achieved in the work of the CMP, and in particular through the Exhumation and Identification Programme, and encourages the continuation of the efforts so far deployed;

CALLS UPON Turkey, however, to rapidly provide information on additional measures required to ensure the effective investigations called for by the Court's judgment

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Interim Resolution ResDH(2005)44
concerning the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 10 May 2001
in the case of Cyprus against Turkey


(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 June 2005,
at the 928th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as amended by Protocol No. 11 (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”),

Having regard to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) in the case of Cyprus against Turkey (application No. 25781/94) delivered on 10 May 2001 and transmitted the same day to the Committee of Ministers under Article 44 of the Convention;

Recalling that the Court, in this judgment, found fourteen violations of the Convention in relation to the situation in the northern part of Cyprus since the military intervention by Turkey in July and August 1974;

Recalling that the obligation incumbent on all states to comply with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights under Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Convention entails an obligation to adopt measures to put an end to the violations found, to erase as far as possible their consequences and to prevent new violations similar to those found by the Court;

Emphasising that the need to adopt such measures is all the more pressing given the violations at issue, as well as the time that has elapsed since they were found;

Recalling that the execution of the judgment by Turkey has been regularly examined by the Committee since June 2001;

Having focused its examination more particularly on the issue of missing persons, on specific aspects of the living conditions of Greek Cypriots in northern Cyprus, notably those related to education including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and on the issue of the jurisdiction of military courts in relation to civilians;

Having taken note of developments regarding these issues and the information furnished by Turkey on measures taken or envisaged following the judgment (see appendix);

Issue of missing persons

Stressing that the Court noted in particular the absence of effective investigation into the fate of missing Greek Cypriots, as well as the silence of the Turkish authorities in the face of the real concerns of the relatives of missing persons (continuing violation of Articles 2,3 and 5 of the Convention);

Noting in this respect that, after a long period of inactivity, the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), set up in 1981 under the aegis of the United Nations, was reactivated at the end of August of 2004 and that a special information unit has been set up for families within the Office of the Turkish Cypriot member of the CMP ;

Recalling, in this context, that the Court found that “although the CMP's procedures are undoubtedly useful for the humanitarian purpose for which they were established, they are not of themselves sufficient to meet the standard of an effective investigation required by Article 2 of the Convention, especially in view of the narrow scope of that body's investigations” (§135 of the judgment) and its territorial jurisdiction, which is limited to the island of Cyprus (§27 of the judgment);

Noting that the CMP was created with the sole mandate to:

- draw up an exhaustive list of missing persons of both communities and
- determine whether they are alive or dead, and, in the latter case, determine the approximate date of their deaths;

Considering that concrete results obtained in the framework of this mandate can constitute a positive development in the execution of the present judgment, but that further measures are in any event required in order to comply fully with the requirements of the Convention concerning effective investigations, aimed at clarifying the whereabouts and fate of Greek-Cypriot missing persons who disappeared in life-threatening circumstances or of whom there is an arguable claim that they were in custody when they disappeared;

Emphasising the urgency of this issue;

Noting with concern that the first exhumations conducted in northern Cyprus have not as yet yielded concrete results,

INVITES Turkey to ensure that its contribution to the work of the CMP facilitates the achievement of concrete and convincing results;

CONSIDERS that, should such results not be achieved in the near future, it will be incumbent on Turkey to take other measures to enable the fate of missing persons to be determined;

CALLS UPON Turkey, in any event, to envisage the necessary further measures so that the effective investigations required by the Court's judgment can be conducted as soon as possible;

Issues relating to education

Recalling that the Court condemned the excessive censorship of school textbooks for use in the primary school of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus (violation of Article 10) and the absence of appropriate secondary education facilities in violation of the right to education of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus (violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1);

Noting that the opening of the school in Rizokarpaso, to date providing for three of the six years of secondary education, constitutes an important development in order to remedy the violation found by the Court in this regard;

Noting the undertaking of the Turkish authorities that any screening procedure for schoolbooks will comply with the Convention standards, while considering that further clarifications are necessary;

INVITES Turkey to submit all relevant information regarding any screening procedure for schoolbooks, to ensure full secondary education for enclaved Greek Cypriot and Maronite children and to provide a stable and lasting basis for the functioning of the Rizokarpaso school, by legislative or other appropriate means;

Issues relating to the freedom of religion

Recalling that the Court considered that a certain number of measures limiting the religious life of enclaved Greek Cypriots, in particular restrictions on their freedom of movement, as well as the refusal to appoint a second priest in the region of Karpas, had infringed their freedom of religion (violation of Article 9);

Noting that, according to information provided by Turkey, such restrictions have been lifted in a satisfactory manner , that numerous examples demonstrate a normal and regular religious life and that prior authorisations are only required for reasons of security and public order, in exceptional situations;

Noting also the information provided by Turkey on the question of the appointment of a second priest called on to officiate in the Karpas region;

INVITES Turkey to provide details regarding the reasons for the rejection of the latest request by the Cypriot authorities for the appointment of a second priest and regarding the further developments of this issue;

Issues relating to military courts

Recalling that the Court condemned the legislative practice of authorising the trial of civilians by military courts, taking into account in particular the close structural links between the executive power and the military officers serving on these courts and doubts as to their independence and impartiality that civilians accused of acts characterised as military offences before such courts could legitimately have (violation of Article 6);

Observing that the information provided by the Turkish authorities demonstrates that military officers are no longer entitled to serve on the military courts;

Noting moreover that the jurisdiction of these courts has been limited and that all the cases that were removed from the military courts as a result have been transferred to civilian courts;

DECIDES to close the examination of the issues relating to military courts;

* * * * *

Requests Turkey to intensify its efforts with a view to the full and complete execution of the present judgment,

Underlines in particular the urgency of achieving concrete results in respect of effective investigations into the fate of the missing persons,

Decides to continue the supervision of progress accomplished until all necessary measures have been taken.

Appendix to Resolution ResDH(2005)44

Information provided by the Government of Turkey
during the examination of the case Cyprus against Turkey
by the Committee of Ministers

With regard to the issue of missing persons , the Turkish authorities invite the Deputies to follow ongoing developments in this context since the reactivation of the CMP in 2004.

Concerning the censorship of schoolbooks for use in the Greek Cypriot primary schools in the north of the island, found excessive by the Court with regard to Article 10 of the Convention, the Turkish authorities have declared that the screening of all schoolbooks used in the north of Cyprus is presently conducted in conformity with the Council of Europe standards and that it has been relaxed and accelerated. They have also indicated that one single criterion is used nowadays for the censorship of all or parts of schoolbooks, namely if they contain elements conveying sentiments of hatred or hostility, and that the procedure of examination does not last more than about two weeks. At the end of this procedure, the books are returned to the Greek Cypriot authorities, accompanied by a report containing recommendations the implementation of which is left to latter's discretion.

With regard to secondary education , the Turkish authorities announced the opening, on 13 September 2004, of a secondary school in Rizokarpaso. They have also indicated that work was being conducted with a view to the adoption of a law for the regulation of Greek Cypriot and Maronite schools in northern Cyprus.

Furthermore, the Resolution adopted by the “Turkish Cypriot Council of Ministers” on 23 May 2005 provides a stable and lasting basis for the functioning of the Greek Cypriot and Maronite school, also ensuring full primary and secondary education.

With regard to the questions relating to the freedom of religion , the Turkish authorities affirm that there is no interference in the religious activities of the Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus. Prior authorisations are only required for reasons of security and public order, in exceptional cases, such as:
- the conduct of religious services in churches transformed into museums
- the organisation of religious events bringing together a large number of persons.
These criteria apply to all religions.

In addition, the Turkish authorities indicate that a request formulated several months ago by the Cypriot authorities with a view to the appointment of a second priest had finally been approved by the “TRNC authorities”, but that the person proposed could not take up his functions for personal reasons; that a new request by the Cypriot authorities has subsequently been rejected for reasons of security, following a procedure which took a few days.

Concerning the competence of military courts to try civilians , the Turkish authorities have announced that, following the judgment of the “Supreme Constitutional Court of the TRNC” of 12 April 2001 concluding that the composition of the “Security Forces Court” infringed the “Constitution” due to the presence of military judges in cases concerning civilians, as well as amendments made to “Law 34/1983 on the Establishment and Judicial Procedure of the Security Forces Court and Security Forces Court of Appeal” (the most recent in September 2004):
- no military judge serves any longer on the Security Forces Court, either at first instance or in appeal proceedings;
- the judges are appointed to the “Security Forces Court” and the “Security Forces Court of Appeal” by an independent non-military judicial authority, the “Supreme Council of Judicature”, which is composed only of civilians and only appoints civilian judges;
- civilians who have infringed section 26 and 29 of the “Military Offences and Penalties Law” are no longer tried by the military courts;
- all cases concerned by this restriction of jurisdiction were removed from the military courts and transferred to civilian courts.

The Turkish authorities have also recognised that a certain ambiguity remains in the amended law. The latter qualifies as “military judges” the civilian judges appointed by the “Supreme Council of The Judicature” to sit on the security forces courts. However, Article 41(3) of the same law dealing with the composition of the “Security Forces Court of Appeal”, refers to “two military judges” and “one civil judge”. The Turkish authorities have however clarified that this reference to two different categories of judges was due to the presence in this court of a civilian judge appointed before the legislative amendments: at his retirement, he will be replaced by a civilian judge appointed by the “Supreme Council of Judicature” and the wording of the Article concerned will be reviewed in due time.