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European Parliament, Brussels, 12 October 2005
Presentation of the paper of the International Expert Panel on a Cyprus Settlement


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 of Cyprus.

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.


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