In a landmark case on Friday 3rd February 2017, the High Court of England and Wales declared that domestic law was independant of international law and that co-operating with North Cyprus was therefore lawful.
The ruling was aimed at solving the problem of suspects evading prosecution in the UK by fleeing to the North Cyprus where up until then they could not be extradited.
“But in a ruling today, judges said there was nothing to stop British police co-operating with law-enforcement agencies on the island,” the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday, referring to North Cyprus police.
“That means fugitives who refuse to return to Britain to face trial can be prosecuted in Northern Cyprus instead,” it said.
According to a South Cyprus government source:
“We know it was being done unofficially – undercover UK police came to Cyprus and grabbed fugitives, obviously in consultation with someone here. It’s also true that we co-operate with them, too – through the United Nations. But what is really strange is that they are supposedly trying to get him tried here, in the north. The normal way to do it would be to ask for a fugitive’s extradition back to the requesting country, not hand over evidence so he can be tried abroad.”
The UK High Court judges were dealing with the case of Hasan Akarcay, a 60-year-old businessman linked to the 2006 discovery of 12.5 kilos of heroin in Bradford and who fled the UK to North Cyprus and has not returned since.
Evidence was handed over to visiting North Cyprus officers in the UK and co-operation had been rubber-stamped by the Foreign Office, with the explicit disclaimer that under no circumstances did the decision undermine its non-recognition policy with regard to the North Cyprus.
Akarcay’s lawyers proptly challenged the legality of this, claiming the passing of evidence and assistance to the north was illegal and amounted to an “act of recognition” by the UK of the breakaway regime in Cyprus which breached the terms of repeated UN Security Council resolutions.
The UK High Court judge rejected the challenge, saying there was no duty in UK law upon the government to refrain from recognising North Cyprus as foreign policy decisions and obligations emanating from international law are distinct to domestic legislation, which is the only one of concern to the court in this case. The judge said.
“The United Nations itself works with Northern Cyprus law enforcement agencies and facilitates cooperation between the two parts of the island. In the circumstances of this case, the public interest in co-operation is clear.”
Although there was evidence of concerns about the conditions in the male prison in North Cyprus, the judge said that did not mean that the conditions were not up to the standard required by the European Human Rights Convention.2 Likes