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Cyprus v. Turkey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017


In a judgment rendered on May 12, 2014, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (Court) ordered Turkey to pay Cyprus unprecedented sums for nonpecuniary damage suffered by the relatives of missing persons and by the “enclaved” Greek Cypriot residents of the Karpas Peninsula stemming from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and its aftermath. In doing so, the Court applied Article 41 on just satisfaction of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention or Convention) to an interstate complaint for the first time.

International Decisions
Copyright © American Society of International Law 2015

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1 Cyprus v. Turkey (Just Satisfaction), App. No. 25781/94 (Eur. Ct. H.R. May 12, 2014) [hereinafter Judgment]. Judgments of the Court cited herein are available at its website,

2 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Nov. 4, 1950, ETS No. 5, 213 UNTS 221, as amended by Protocol No. 14, May 13, 2004, CETS No. 194 [hereinafter Convention]. Article 41 of the Convention provides: “If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

3 Cyprus v. Turkey, 2001-IV Eur. Ct. H.R. 1 [hereinafter Merits Judgment].

4 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, May 23,1969,1155 UNTS 331 [hereinafter Vienna Convention].

5 Judgment, para. 24 (citing Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v.Austl.), Preliminary Objections, 1992 ICJ Rep. 240, 253–54, 254–55, paras. 32, 36 (June 26)).

6 Merits Judgment, operative pt. VIII.

7 Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, in Report of the International Law Commissiononthe Work of Its Fifty-Third Session, [2001]2 Y.B.Int’l L.Comm’n26, UN Doc. A/CN.4/SER.A/2001/Add.1 (Part 2) [hereinafter ILC Articles].

8 See also Judgment, para. 41 (quoting Factory at Chorzów (Jurisdiction), 1927 PCIJ (ser. A) No. 9, at 21).

9 Judgment, Joint Concurring Opinion of Judges Zupančič, Gyulumyan, David Thór Björgvinsson, Nicolaou, Sajó, Lazarova Trajkovska, Power-Forde, Vučinić and Pinto de Albuquerque [hereinafter joint concurring op.].

10 Id.

11 Judgment, Concurring Opinion of Judge Pinto de Albuquerque, Joined by Judge Vučinić, para. 1 [hereinafter concurring op. Pinto de Albuquerque & Vučinić, JJ.].

12 Judgment, Partly Concurring Opinion of Judges Tulkens, Vajicć, Raimondi and Bianku, Joined by Judge Karakaş, paras. 2, 5–9.

13 Judgment, Partly Concurring and Partly Dissenting Opinion of Judge Casadevall, para. 1 [hereinafter sep. op. Casadevall, J.].

14 Id., para. 2.

15 Id., para. 6.

16 Loizidou v. Turkey, 1996-IV Eur. Ct. H.R. 2216, para. 43; Al-Adsani v. United Kingdom, 2001-XI Eur. Ct. H.R. 79, para. 55; Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizm ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi v. Ireland, 2005-IV Eur. Ct. H.R. 107, para. 150.

17 Vienna Convention, supra note 4, Art. 31(3)(c).

18 Ireland v. United Kingdom, 25 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A), para. 245 (1978), quoted in Judgment, para. 39.

19 Judgment, para. 40 (quoting Council of Europe, Committee of Experts, Report to the Committee of Ministers, Doc. CM/WP 1(50)15 (Mar. 16, 1950)).

20 ILC Articles, supra note 7, Arts. 31, 34, 37, at 28.

21 Factory at Chorzów (Jurisdiction), supra note 8, at 21; Gabčókovo-Nagymaros Project (Hung./Slovk.), 1997 ICJ Rep. 7, 81, para. 152 (Sept. 25).

22 Judgment, para. 56 (quoting Varnava v. Turkey, App. Nos. 16064/90, 16065/90, 16066/90, 16068/90, 16069/90, 16070/90, 16071/90, 16072/90, 16073/90, 50 Eur. H.R. Rep. 467, para. 224 (2010)).

23 Varnava, supra note 22, para. 224, quoted in Judgment, para. 56.

24 Id., quoted in Judgment, para. 56.

25 ILC Articles, supra note 7, Art. 37(3), at 28.

26 Sep. op. Casadevall, J., para. 5.

27 Concurring op. Pinto de Albuquerque & Vučinicć, JJ., para. 18.

28 Sep. op. Casadevall, J., para. 5 (referring in this regard to the 1456 missing persons).

29 Concurring op. Pinto de Albuquerque & Vučinić, JJ., para. 13.

30 Id., para. 18.

31 Id., para. 1.

32 Id., para. 1 n.1.

33 See, e.g., ILC Articles, supra note 7, Arts. 34–39 with Commentary, at 95–110.

34 Article 34 of the Convention, supra note 2, provides in pertinent part that “[t]he Court may receive applications from any person, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in the Convention or the Protocols thereto.”

35 Vallianatos v. Greece, App. Nos. 29381/09, 32684/09, para. 47 (Eur. Ct. H.R. Nov. 7, 2013).

36 Tănase v. Moldova, App. No. 7/08, 53 Eur. H.R. Rep. 744, para. 104 (2011).

37 The right of individuals to submit petitions directly to the Court, now set forth in Article 34 of the Convention, supra note 34, was added by Protocol No. 11, May 11, 1994, ETS No. 155.

38 Chember v. Russia, 2008-IV Eur. Ct. H.R. 1, 22–23, para. 77 (€10,000); Gorodnitchev c. Russie, App. No. 52058/99, para.143(Eur. Ct.H.R. May 24, 2007)(€10,000); Bursucc.Roumanie, App. No. 42066/98, para.124 (Eur. Ct. H.R. Oct. 12, 2004) (€10,000).

39 Concurring op. Pinto de Albuquerque & Vučinić, JJ., para. 14.

40 Id.

41 ILC Articles, supra note 7, Art. 48(2)(a).

42 Joint concurring op., supra note 9.

43 Concurring op. Pinto de Albuquerque & Vučinić, JJ., para. 18.