ECHR: Turkey failed to cooperate with Greek Cyprus in murder case
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Jan. 29 that Turkey and Turkish Cypriot authorities failed to cooperate with Greek Cyprus in a murder case of three Cypriot citizens, which it said led to the perpetrators of the murder to circumvent facing justice and being extradited to Greek Cyprus.
The case concerns the investigation into the killing of three Turkish Cypriots in Greek Cyprus in 2005. Elmas, Zerrin, and Eylül Güzelyurtlu were all shot dead on the Nicosia-Larnaca highway. Their murderers had fled back to Turkish Cyprus.
Parallel investigations into the murders were conducted by Greek and Turkish Cypriot authorities as well as Turkey. But both investigations reached an impasse in 2008.
In their case before the European Court of Justice, the applicants — the victims’ relatives — alleged that the refusal of Turkey and Greek Cyprus to cooperate meant that the killers would not face justice.
The court considered that both states had an obligation to cooperate with each other.
But it later found that Greek Cyprus had done all that could reasonably have been expected of it to obtain the surrender and extradition of the suspects from Turkey, submitting “red notice” requests to Interpol and extradition requests to Turkey.
The court also ruled that “the Cypriot authorities could not be criticized for refusing to submit all the evidence and to transfer the proceedings to the authorities of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ or Turkey. That would have amounted to Greek Cyprus waiving its criminal jurisdiction over a murder committed in its controlled area in favor of the courts of an unrecognized entity set up within its territory.”
“Turkey, on the other hand, had not made the minimum effort required in the circumstances of the case. They had ignored Cyprus’ extradition requests, returning them without reply, contrary to their obligation in light of international agreements,” the court also said.
The court ruled that Turkish Cyprus and Turkey violated Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights which oversees the right to life and effective investigation. The court demanded Turkey to pay each applicant 8,500 euros in non-pecuniary damages. It further awarded the applicants a combined sum of 10,000 euros in respect of costs and expenses.