Brussels, 12 October 2005
Presentation of the paper of the International Expert Panel on a
PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
SOVEREIGNTY; EQUALITY AND INDEPENDENCE
Distinguished members of Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen!
The paper of the international expert panel “A principled
basis for a just and lasting Cyprus settlement in the light of International
and European Law” does not pretend to advance any new plan
for Cyprus. Our initiative is to open a process of constitution
making in which all communities in Cyprus should participate.
This process must be based on the following guiding principles:
the peaceful settlement of disputes; the sovereignty, independence
and equality of states; the prohibition of aggression and the non-recognition
of its consequences; respect for human rights, liberty, democracy
and the rule of law.
I have been asked to say a few words on the principle of the peaceful
settlement of disputes, and on the notion and implications of sovereignty.
As everyone knows, the peaceful settlement of disputes is a peremptory
rule of international law (UN Charter Article 2(3)). Turkey violated
this principle in July 1974 and again in August 1974 when it rejected
all options of peaceful negotiation and chose the path of force
by taking unilateral action against the Republic of Cyprus, in breach
of article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter, which prohibits the
threat of and the use of force.
Without any doubt, the 1974 Turkish invasion entailed the crime
of aggression, which the Nuremberg Trials already condemned as the
"supreme crime", because all subsequent war crimes and
crimes against humanity flow from the initial crime against peace.
Thirty-one years after Turkey's aggression, 37% of the territory
of the Republic of Cyprus remains militarily occupied. This entails
a continued aggression and a continued violation of articles 2(3)
and 2(4) of the UN Charter. Moreover, the European Court of Human
Rights has repeatedly condemned the manifold violations by Turkey
of the European Convention, particularly with regard to the right
to life, the right to family and home, the right to property, and
with regard to its failure to investigate the fate of missing persons.
Turkey remains in continuous breach of the ECHR and of numerous
provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, which Turkey recently ratified.
The Independent Panel of Experts observes that the sovereignty,
equality and independence of States are basic principles of international
law and of the European order.
On 24 April 2004, 75.8% of the voters in the non-occupied part of
the Republic of Cyprus exercised their democratic right in rejecting
a Plan, drafted and imposed by foreign entities, which pretended
to legitimize the use of force by Turkey and the consequences of
the multiple violations of international law committed by Turkey
since 1974, notwithstanding the principle ex injuria non oritur
jus. The Panel believes that the democratic will of the people of
Cyprus must be respected.
Pursuant to the Plan, the colonial anachronism of the institution
of 3 so-called Guarantor Powers would have been perpetuated, including
their power of intervention in the internal affairs of Cyprus. This
situation is wholly incompatible with post-decolonization international
law and with the law of the European Union. Any future settlement
for Cyprus must do away with all vestiges of colonialism, including
the intrusive rights of the United Kingdom in respect to the so-called
“Sovereign Base Areas” and the anomaly that under the
rejected Plan, international judicial or third party settlement
procedure would have been precluded with regard to disputes concerning
these areas that properly belong under the sovereignty of the Republic
It is time for the sovereign people of Cyprus to take their future
in their own hands by convening a Constitutional Convention to draft
their own constitution, without pressures from the Guarantor Power
or from any other foreign entity.
The Panel believes that in the 21st century solutions should be
democratically arrived at and not imposed from the top down. It
is, moreover, the responsibility of the European Union to respect,
safeguard and strengthen the sovereignty and independence of the
Republic of Cyprus, a member State since 1 May 2004.