For Immediate Release: April 28, 2009
Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, New York, Tel. 1-917-699-9935
NEW YORK—The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) is pleased to circulate the
report that " The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Meletios
Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot refugee from Turkish-occupied Lapithos, near
Kyrenia, can reclaim land he was uprooted from by the Turkish invasion in 1974
and which was subsequently 'bought' by an Anglo-Jewish couple, Linda and David
Orams" , the ground breaking report by London-based Greek-Cypriot blogger
Hellenic Antidote is provided below. We encourage the distribution of this
report, and the forwarding of this press release.
(THE ARTICLE BELOW IS REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES)
European court finds in favour of Greek Cypriot refugee ,Tuesday, 28 April 2009
by Hellenic Antidote blog
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Meletios Apostolides, a Greek
Cypriot refugee from Turkish-occupied Lapithos, near Kyrenia, can reclaim land
he was uprooted from by the Turkish invasion in 1974 and which was subsequently
'bought' by an Anglo-Jewish couple, Linda and David Orams.
Apostolides initially took the Orams' to court in Nicosia in 2005, which decided
that the Britons should knock down or hand over to him the villa with swimming
pool they had built on his land and pay him compensation and rent for the
deprivation and use of his property.
When the Orams', with the protection and full backing of the Turkish-occupation
regime in northern Cyprus, refused to recognise the Nicosia court's ruling,
Apostolides sought to have it enforced in the UK, where the Orams' permanently
reside, on the principal that judgments in Cypriot courts have to be recognised
in all other courts in the European Union.
The High Court in London in 2006 found that while it accepted that Apostolides
owned the land in Lapithos; Cypriot – and by extension EU – courts did not have
effective jurisdiction over Turkish-occupied Cyprus and, therefore, the Nicosia
court ruling against the Orams' could not be enforced. (The judge also awarded
costs of £863,000 against Apostolides, a substantial amount of which was to be
paid to 'human rights' lawyer Cherie Blair – former prime minister Tony Blair's
wife – who had been hired by the Turk/Orams' side).
Apostolides appealed the High Court decision and the UK Court of Appeal referred
the matter to the European Court of Justice – the EU's highest court – which
today found the High Court decision erroneous, stating that: 'The fact that the
land concerned is situated in an area over which the [Cyprus] government does
not exercise effective control... does not preclude the recognition and
enforcement of those judgments in another member state [and]… the fact that Mr
Apostolides might encounter difficulties in having the judgments enforced cannot
deprive them of their enforceability.'
Read ECJ judgment summary here.
(URL: http://curia.europa.eu/en/actu/communiques/cp09/aff/cp090039en.pdf )
Without being a legal expert or understanding just yet what the full
implications of this undoubtedly positive ruling are: two points have struck me
so far following the initial reaction by Cypriot lawyers to today's verdict:
Firstly, the matter is not finished with the ECJ ruling. The case is now back
with the British courts, which have to decide how they are going to enforce the
ECJ verdict. Given the High Court experience and the probable reluctance of a
British court to find itself executing decisions made by a foreign (Cypriot)
court that adversely affect the interests of British citizens, the possibility
remains that a British court will seek to water down or side step the Nicosia
court and ECJ rulings.
Secondly, while the ECJ ruling has potentially devastating implications for EU
citizens who have 'bought' usurped Greek Cypriot land and will surely put off
others considering investing in property in occupied Cyprus; it is likely that
the Turkish occupation regime will seek to ameliorate the consequences for its
'property development' sector by looking for buyers outside the EU – most
probably from Israel and Russia.
Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
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New York: Tel. 917-699-9935
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movement created to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the
people of Cyprus.
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