Orams ruling delivers “the killer blow” for Cyprus and British justice

Below is a statement from human rights group Embargoed! about today’s British Court of Appeal ruling on the case between Meletios Apostolides and David and Linda Orams.

“Embargoed! is outraged that the British Court of Appeal has chosen to bow down to the European Court of Justice  verdict  and find entirely in favour of the plaintiff Meletios Apostolides. There were various other avenues the British Court of Appeal could have followed, but this decision is the worst of all possible outcomes. The British Government has repeatedly failed to fulfil its obligation to the Turkish Cypriots as a Guarantor, and now the British justice system follows suit.

The ruling, which deftly avoided any mention of the island’s troubles during the 1960s, smacks of political bias and an attempt to cover up ongoing mistakes by the European Union in its handling of Cyprus. It admitted a divided island in 2004 and now only recognises Greek Cypriots and South Cyprus, while wantonly discriminating against Turkish Cypriots and other residents in North Cyprus.

This flawed verdict comes at the most critical stage in the negotiations between the two Cypriot leaders and may well deliver the “killer blow” for efforts to reunite the island. Public policy and the wider issues affecting the Cyprus conflict were relegated to second place by the British court, whose ruling will have extensive, tragic and totally unjust implications for thousands of property owners in the UK and elsewhere across the EU. It makes a mockery of claims by the British, European and Greek Cypriot authorities that they want to see a negotiated settlement in Cyprus; they have knowingly allowed a piecemeal approach to the Property Issue to dominate, where individual rights have superseded the overall needs of Cyprus.

It is also staggering that the presence of a Greek judge heading the ECJ panel was not an issue of concern for the Court of Appeal. This is akin to allowing Arsene Wenger to referee a match involving Arsenal.

The case will undoubtedly be a turning point in Cyprus affairs, wedging a deep and irreversible divide between the two sides. The judgment ignores the past and present suffering of the Turkish Cypriots and their inherent legal and political rights. There is no real parallel equitable remedy for Turkish Cypriots in the South – the message today from Britain and the rest of the EU is, it’s one rule if you are a Greek Cypriot, another if you are Turkish Cypriot. Where is the justice in this?

At this time, Embargoed! also extends its thoughts and support to David and Linda Orams, who have inadvertently been caught up in this political battle. Their dignified behaviour and determination throughout is an inspiration to us all.

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