Just after being forcibly displaced in 1974 from my hometown of Famagusta, when Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus, I adopted the Netherlands as my new house. Turkey has been trying to block justice for Cyprus by the Worldwide Courtroom of Justice (ICJ) for many years. Can the International Prison Courtroom (ICC) last but not least provide justice to Cyprus?
On the foundation that no a person is earlier mentioned the law, the reply have to surely be “of course.” Even so, there are 3 formidable although not essentially insurmountable obstacles on the street to justice by means of the ICC.
The to start with obstacle is the suspicious refusal of Turkey to become a condition celebration to the Rome Statute on the ICC. Turkey has not signed the Rome Statute. In spite of being a candidate country to be part of the European Union (EU), Turkey has not followed the instance established by Cyprus, the Netherlands and all other EU users who have turn out to be state functions to the ICC.
A 2nd impediment is the ongoing failure of the U.N. Security Council to activate Chapter VII of the U.N. Constitution and refer any of the alleged international crimes fully commited in the Republic of Cyprus to the prosecutor of the ICC. The U.N. Protection Council has unsuccessful to invite the ICC to “exercising its jurisdiction” below Article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute “with regard to” any of the crimes shown in Posting 5—the crime of genocide, crimes towards humanity, war crimes and the criminal offense of aggression.
A 3rd obstacle is the limited chronological jurisdiction of the ICC. This is confined to worldwide crimes allegedly fully commited just after the Rome Statute arrived into drive on July 1, 2002. This restriction does not prevent the ICC from managing any conditions arising from any international crimes allegedly committed in any section of the Republic of Cyprus following this date. In accordance to the criticism submitted with the ICC in 2014 by a member of the European Parliament, Costas Mavrides, and the Cypriots Against Turkish War Crimes Basis, this sort of crimes would show up to consist of: “The transfer, specifically or indirectly, by the Occupying Energy of areas of its have civilian populace into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the inhabitants of the occupied territory within just or outdoors this territory,” opposite to Report 8.2 (b) (viii) of the Rome Statute.
Nor does the confined chronological jurisdiction of the ICC prevent the regulation enforcement authorities in Turkey or the Republic of Cyprus from instigating criminal proceedings in their domestic courts less than domestic laws these as a Cypriot legislation of 1966. That legislation enshrines the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 into domestic Cypriot regulation. People conventions seem to have been flouted, with impunity, in 1974 and in so numerous other years. Will the regulation enforcement authorities in the Republic of Cyprus or Turkey at any time convey any domestic legal proceedings?
There are some glimmers of hope on the horizon. A single appeared on June 15, 2021. In her farewell statement, the outgoing prosecutor at the ICC, Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, disclosed that “in the course of the previous six months my staff has undertaken considerable work, in readily available signifies, to progress our assessment on quite a few so-identified as ‘Phase 1’ assessments – i.e. the initial filtering assessment as component of the preliminary evaluation approach.” The outgoing prosecutor then described Cyprus: “Final December, I announced our hope that throughout 2021 selections could be arrived at either to dismiss or proceed, such as with respect to Mexico, Cyprus (settlements), Yemen (arm exporters), Cambodia (land grabbing) and Syria/Jordan (deportation). Irrespective of development made on a selection of these assessments … I will again be handing these over to the incoming Prosecutor to consider and decide upon, as he deems proper.”
A decision is now awaited from the new prosecutor at the ICC, Karim Ahmad Khan.
Regardless of what the new prosecutor decides, practically nothing can alter the primary specifics.
In 1974, Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus by way of two bloody armed forces campaigns—first on July 20 and then all over again on Aug. 14. All through each individual campaign, the Turkish occupation forces terrorized the indigenous Greek citizens of the republic in its northern portion into fleeing to the southern aspect. Turkey and its regional brokers also coerced Turkish citizens of Cyprus to head in the opposite direction.
In get to attain the de facto partition of the Republic of Cyprus and the forcible actual physical segregation of its men and women, Turkey carried out human legal rights violations and what show up to be unpunished crimes towards humanity and other international crimes. These crimes would seem to contain willful killings, forcible transfers of populace, unlawful imprisonments, functions of torture, rapes, enforced disappearances of people and the persecution of individuals on ethnic and spiritual grounds. Evidence of such crimes has been documented—in the context of European Human Legal rights Law—in the Report of the European Commission of Human Legal rights adopted in 1976.
Because 1974, Turkey has illegally occupied above 36 % of the territory and 57 p.c of the shoreline of the Republic of Cyprus.
This past July, on the 47th anniversary of the initial Turkish invasion marketing campaign, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan frequented the Turkish-occupied north of the Republic. At the time, I went to my Turkish-occupied birthplace of Famagusta with Der Spiegel, in which I tried to meet and confront Erdogan. He in no way turned up, but I built a promise: I would do all the things I can to connect with for justice in response to the many unpunished human legal rights violations and international crimes inflicted on me and on so lots of other forcibly displaced individuals of many ethnic or religious backgrounds. Quicker or later, justice must be sent on account of the ongoing injustices carried out to Cyprus.
As we wait for justice, every person should really reflect on the significant terms of Georghios Pikis, former ICC member: “Without the need of justice there can be no peace and with out peace, human existence is still left at the mercy of the unwell passions of the robust for electricity, domination, riches and sequential inhuman functions.”
Tasoula Hadjitofi a human legal rights and cultural campaigner whose expertise is cultural heritage preservation. She is the founding president of the Wander of Real truth and the creator of the 2017 e book The Icon Hunter.
The sights expressed in this write-up are the writer’s very own.