The case in brief

Titina Loizidou comes from Kyrenia, a city in the northern part of Cyprus. She lived in Kyrenia up until 1972 when together with her husband, they moved to Nicosia temporarily with the intention of settling back to Kyrenia at a later stage.

However, the Turkish invasion in 1974 denied her access to her hometown and subsequently to the property, which she had inherited from her family. She tried to go back several times during the peaceful demonstrations of the movement "Women Walk Home".

In the last march on 19 March 1989 the Turkish armed forces stopped her and along with other women held her captive for participating in the march.

In July 1989 she applied to the European Commission of Human Rights in Strasbourg by filing an individual application against Turkey. She had then started a long complicated and difficult process, which lasted nine years. The European Court of Human Rights delivered 3 different judgments on the Loizidou case, which established the fact that Turkey was indeed the party responsible for the inability of the applicant to peacefully access and enjoy her property in Kyrenia. The Court found Turkey guilty of violating Loizidous's property rights (according to Article 1 Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention for Human Rights) and responsible for reversing such an illegality. Furthermore, Turkey was held responsible (according to the Court's July 28 1998 judgment) for paying Loizidou pecuniary damages -just satisfaction- which amounted to Cyp 300.000 ($US 600,000). The non pecuniary damages were estimated according to the Court's award to a Cyp20.000 (US $ 40,000) amount. The deadline for payment of this amount was 28 October 1998.

The Applicant has placed her trust in the legal system developed by the Council of Europe to ensure respect and protection of property rights and of human rights. She has argued her case and obtained 3 judgments by the Court.

Nevertheless Turkey has showed no sign of intending to comply with the Court’s monetary award nor has it in fact complied with the Court’s judgment of 18 December 1996 so as to allow the Applicant to return to and peacefully enjoy her property in Kyrenia.

"It is now up to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to ensure that judgments of the Court are enforced and the Public Order of Europe is preserved. In fact the Committee after an exchange of letters with the Turkish Government, has on 6 October 1999 adopted an Interim Resolution (DH (99) 680) which, inter alia:

"Strongly urges Turkey to review its position and to pay the just satisfaction awarded in this case in accordance with the conditions set out by the European Court of Human Rights so as to ensure that Turkey, as a High Contracting Party, meets its obligations under the Convention."

It is perhaps interesting to note what the Cyprus Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1999 by the U.S.Department of State mentions in relation to this case:"

"In 1996 the European Court of Human Rights ruled 11 to 6 that Turkey committed a continuing violation of the rights of a Greek Cypriot woman by preventing her from going to her property located in north Cyprus. The ruling reaffirmed the validity of property deeds issued prior to 1974. The Court also found in this case that "it was obvious from the large number of troops engaged in active duties in northern Cyprus that the Turkish army exercised effective overall control there. In the circumstances of the case, this entailed Turkey's responsibility for the policies and actions of the TRNC'". In July the Court ordered Turkey to pay the woman approximately $915,000 in damages and costs by October 28. The Turkish Government stated that it cannot implement the Court's decision, which it contends is a political decision, and argued that the land in question is not Turkish but is part of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Council of Europe (COE) during 1999 continued to call on the Turkish Government to comply with the Court's decision. In October the COE Committee of Ministers' Deputies voted to deplore Turkey's lack of compliance. A number of similar cases have been filed with the ECHR."