On Wednesday 28th March 2018, Clare Montgomery QC and Jessica Jones of Matrix will appear before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Guzelyurtlu v Cyprus and Turkey, instructed by the Attorney General of the Republic of Cyprus. The case concerns the Article 2 duty on states to investigate deaths, and the extent to which co-operation can be required between states, and between an occupied state and its occupier. Turkey has been in unlawful military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus since 1974.
In 2005, three members of the Guzelyurtlu family were murdered in Cyprus. Their murderers immediately fled to the north of the island, which is under Turkish occupation. Cyprus conducted a police investigation which identified the killers, and identified that they had taken refuge in the occupied territory. Turkey and the occupying administration refused to transfer the suspects to be tried in Cyprus. Instead, the occupying administration asked to try the suspects on the basis of the evidence collected by the Cypriot police. Cyprus did not hand over the evidence, and argues before the ECtHR that doing so would breach the international law rule of non-recognition, which prohibits states from acting in ways that give recognition to unlawful situations. Further, Cyprus argues that Article 2 cannot require an occupied territory to co-operate with an occupying administration. In addition, it argues that the duty to co-operate under Article 2 places obligations on second states to co-operate with the state of primary jurisdiction (here, Cyprus) and does not, except in limited circumstances, require the state of primary jurisdiction to co-operate with or cede jurisdiction to a secondary jurisdiction.