If you give way, you will instantly have to meet some greater demand, as having been frightened into obedience in the first instance; while a firm refusal will make them clearly understand that they must treat you more as equals. Make your decision therefore at once, either to submit before you are harmed, or if we are to go to war, as I for one think we ought, to do so without caring whether the ostensible cause be great or small, resolved against making concessions or consenting to a precarious tenure of our possessions. For all claims from an equal, urged upon a neighbour as commands before any attempt at legal settlement, be they great or be they small, have only one meaning, and that is slavery.
[Speech of Pericles - Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Chapter V]
Campaign against Annan plan travels to London
By Philippos Stylianou
Cyprus Weekly 12-19 March 2004
THE intensified campaign against the Annan plan was carried to the UK Greek
Cypriots this week with three of the plan’s most outspoken critics presenting
their views before a packed audience in London, at the invitation of the UK
Movement of Cypriot Citizens.
Socialist Edek honorary president and former House President Vassos Lyssarides MP warned that the rush developments might force the Cypriot people to ignore their leadership.
Diko MP Andreas Angelides criticised collectively the state leadership for disregarding the Constitution and wanting to shift their responsibilities to the ordinary citizen by placing them before the dilemma of an unconstitutional referendum.
New Horizons MP Christos Clerides highlighted the property aspect of the Annan plan, saying that the guarantor powers - Britain, Greece and Turkey - as well as the new Cypriot state would be violating the European Convention of Human Rights for forcing the Annan plan on the Cypriot people.
Clerides described the “new state of affairs” the plan purports to create as reminiscent of the apartheid regime of South Africa. He said it aimed at legitimising the illegal consequences of the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus, by dividing Cyprus into two states along ethnic lines, in contravention of EU law and internationally recognised human rights.
The speaker drew mainly on a reply prepared jointly with fellow lawyer Xenis Xenofontos to an earlier speech in London by Turkish Cypriot Alper Riza QC, who based his arguments on the political equality of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Clerides argued back that political equality was “misconstrued into a procrustean arithmetical equality and two sovereign states in Cyprus.”
Elaborating on this he said that the principle of “equality’ under international and constitutional law deals primarily with persons, in the sense that a Turkish Cypriot is equal before the law along with an Armenian Cypriot or a Greek Cypriot. Even when there could be such a term as “political equality” between two or more groups, Clerides asserted, those groups would have to be of comparable numbers if they were to treated ‘equally’ in numerical terms.
He went on to say that the Turkish Cypriot side and Ankara had deliberately distorted the meaning of political equality, in order to create the notion of two peoples in Cyprus, despite the fact that today the Turkish Cypriot community makes up only 11.6% of the legitimate people of Cyprus against 85% of those belonging to the Greek Cypriot community.
Clerides reminded the audience that the British Prime Minister himself at the end of the London Conference in 1959 that led to the establishment of the Cyprus Republic had stressed that Cyprus was recognised only as one people. And he had added:
“It is an arrangement that recognises the Greek character of the majority of the Cypriot people, but at the same time an arrangement which protects the national character and culture of the Turkish Cypriot community.”
The speaker then referred in particular to the property provisions of the Annan plan, which had been the main theme of Riza’s London presentation, and argued that they could not withstand the rigour of Protocol 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights enshrining the right to possession and peaceful enjoyment of property.
He said the proposal in the Annan plan for the striking out of pending cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning property issues was based on a misinterpretation of Article 37 of the ECHR, because it does not guarantee restitution of the affected property.
Any fresh application under the Plan will have to be filed against another
entity, the Greek or Turkish Cypriot state or the United Republic of Cyprus,
although the individual would still be entitled to compensation against Turkey
for the loss of use and to restitution, the latter not offered by the Annan
Furthermore, the speaker referred the proponents of the plan to the legal opinion given to the Republic of Cyprus by ten leading experts in international law on the “Legal issues arising from certain population transfers and displacements on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.”
It emerges from this expert opinion that the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey, as well as the United Cyprus Republic, will be violating article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights by forcing the Annan plan on the Cypriot people. The relevant extract from the expert legal opinion is as follows:
“Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires High Contracting Parties to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in section I. Article 1 makes no distinction as to the type of rule or measure concerned and does not exclude any part of the member State’s jurisdiction from scrutiny. It also extends to arrangements or provisions which result from other international agreements.
”Thus the states parties to the Convention are responsible under Article 1 for the consequences resulting from international instruments entered into subesquent to the coming into force of the Convention.
“This means that relevant parties to any scheme will bear responsibility under the Convention for violations ( ... ) resulting from it. Thus any arrangement related to the properties of persons focribly transferred in Cyprus since 1974 will be subject to scrutiny by the European human rights organs at the instance of individuals affected. This scrutiny cannot be excluded by any separate status that may be accorded to any part of the territory of a member state, or by any subsequent treaty or other arrangement between particular States subject to the jurisdiction of the Court.”
Clerides pointed out that even if the majority adopted the Annan plan in a referendum, this cannot annul the right to property, which is a basic human and individual right.
“The system proposed by the Annan plan does not give the right to challenge the decision for compulsory taking over of the properties en masse; this decision remains unchallengeable and any claims are confined to compensation or exchange of properties except in a few cases,” the speakers said, and added: “Such a system will not stand the test of the jurisprudence of the European Court, with very sad and unfortunate political consequences.”
He also noted that the property provisions of the Annan plan did not serve the public interest, as some claim, because the expropriated properties would be distributed to individuals and not be used for building roads or used in any other way for the public interest. Besides, as stipulated in the Annan plan, the aim of the expropriation ran contrary to the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic origin, or even age at times.
Angelides: ‘Take responsibility’
DIKO MP Andreas Angelides supported the view that the institutional
organs of the Cyprus Republic should uphold their constitutional
responsibilities and demand the military withdrawal of Turkey from Cyprus,
following the Republic’s accession to the EU on May 1st.
Angelides explained that Article 34 of the Cyprus Constitution expressly prevented the kind of separate referenda proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his plan for a solution to the problem.
The constitutional provisions clearly state that there is nothing giving the right to any community, group or individual through any action to seek the undermining or the abolition of the constitutional order, or the rights and liberties or their curtailment in any degree.
“This constitutional provision in combination with the fact that the Republic of Cyprus exists and is internationally recognised as a country with a specific Constitution, people, territory and jurisdiction, is the starting point for any recourse to the people through referendum,” Angelides said.
He added that any referendum should conform with the Constitution and related laws which prohibit the abolition of the constitutional order and protect individual freedoms.
“It is on this Constitution and these laws that the President, the Ministers, the Deputies, Judges and independent officials of the State take their oath of confirmation, vowing loyalty and respect,” he stressed, noting also that it is with these institutional organs of the Cypriot state that the EU has entered into agreement for its enlargement.
Elaborating, Angelides said the 1989 law on referenda passed by the House does not empower any organ of the Republic to put before the people a “yes” or “no” dilemma for the abolition of the Constitution and the emergence of a new one.
This is even more so, he said, when the people are confronted with the dilemma not through a dialogue of the people with their leadership, but because the UN arbitrator has so demanded.
The Diko MP stressed that the Constitution does not absolve any state official from their constitutional responsibilities if they go against the mandatory legal principles that raised them to their office. Therefore, he suggested, there can be no such thing as having recourse to the “personal choice” or “personal responsibility” of each citizen in two separate referenda.
“No one is above the law, nor may act outside the law, regardless of how high is the office he holds. Nobody has the right to act against the Constitution and the law in force. No one may lead the people contrary to constitutional procedures through a referendum or otherwise to say “yes” or “no”. No one may abandon their constitutional rights as a simple citizen. No people may abandon its human rights,” Angelides concluded.
Lyssarides: ‘The people can ignore leadership’
In his LONDON speech, Socialist Edek party honorary president Vassos
Lyssarides noted that the Annan plan had been accepted only as a basis for negotiation
and wondered what had happened in between to have made acceptable an
arbitration role for the UN Secretary General.
“No people assigns its fortunes unquestonably to foreign factors; not even to an elected president of their own country,” Lyssarides stressed.
He said the Greek Cypriot side sought its entry to the European Union rightly believing that more favourable circumstances would be created and its negotiating power would be strengthened.
“The 1st of May could become a constructive landmark in the course of the Cyprus problem. Are we going to transform it into a destructive boomerang?” Lyssarides wondered and went on to make the following warning:
“On the 1st of May the Republic of Cyprus shall be dissolved and its President abolished. The protocol of establishment will be deposited at the US and the European Union by the co-presidents and community leaders Papadopoulos and Denktash, who will rule together for 2 1/2 years.
“If during this time Turkey creates a deadlock - something which would be very easy to do given the ‘constructive ambiguities’ and the complexity of the system - there will be two recognised equal co-presidents, each for a separate state, which will not be put in inverted commas any more. So, with our endorsement and with the mandatory acquiscence of the EU, Cyprus will be partitioned with the Turkish Cypriot state participating. Is this how we make good of the accession benefit?”
Lyssarides also described how human rights are violated under the Annan plan, with the refugees even having to pay money on top for getting their property back.
He noted that Turkish occupied areas would not be returned immediately for the resettlement of refugees and so any deadlock could lead to a cancellation of the territorial Annan plan provisions.
The retention of Turkish guarantees, extended to cover both the whole of Cyprus and the constituent states separately did not augur well either. Turkey could easily cause the Turkish Cypriots to emigrate, thus creating an homogeneous Turkish state in the north and a mixed one in the south, with Turkey threatening to intervene allegedlly to protect the Turkish Cypriots living in the Greek Cypriot constituent state.
The Edek honorary president said there were those who intimidated the people telling them that rejection of an unacceptable plan would result in partition. He stressed that partition would come about if the Annan plan were accepted in its present form.
He furthermore said that there should be no illusions about Kofi Annan adjusting his plan to the just demands of the Greek Cypriot side. Besides, he said, the Americans have assured Turkey that they will exercise their influence on Annan in their favour.
“We therefore state clearly and categorically that we shall not endorse the Annan plan as it stands or with cosmetic changes. The people has not given any mandate on this basis. Let them make a better appraisal of what we are capable of doing. Because in times like these the people can ignore leaderships and leaders.”