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Publication:[not yet received]
Title:Solomou v. Turkey
Application No:36832/97
Referred by:
Date of reference by Commission:
Date of reference by State:
Date of Judgment:24-06-2008
Conclusion:Not necessary to examine article 1
Violation of article 2
Not necessary to examine article 3
Not necessary to examine article 8
Not necessary to examine article 14
Compensation awarded

(Press release)
Isaak v. Turkey; Solomou v. Turkey
The seven applicants were born in 1941, 1964, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1974 and 1971 respectively and also live in Paralimini (Cyprus). They are the father, brothers and sisters of Solomos Solomou, a Greek Cypriot who died on 14 August 1996. On 14 August 1996 Solomos Solomou, having attended Anastasios Isaak's funeral, entered the buffer zone with other demonstrators near the spot of the killing and, in protest, climbed up a flagpole flying the Turkish flag. He was shot and killed. The parties disagreed as to the origin of the five bullets which hit Mr Solomou. According to the applicants and the Government of Cyprus, those bullets were fired by two men in Turkish uniform and by another man in civilian clothes who was on the platform of the Turkish observation post. On the contrary, the Turkish Government alleged that Mr Solomou had been the victim of the crossfire which had broken out when the Greek-Cypriot demonstration developed into a riot. The applicants submitted a number of witness statements from UNFICYP officers. Several officers clearly stated that two soldiers in Turkish uniform and a man in civilian clothes standing on the Turkish observation post platform had aimed their weapons at Mr Solomou and fired in his direction while he was climbing the flagpole. The applicants also submitted photographs and a video film of the shooting.

Relying on Articles 2 (right to life), 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination), all the applicants alleged that their relatives were unlawfully killed by agents of the Turkish Government and that the Turkish authorities failed to carry out an investigation into the incidents. In the case of Solomou the applicants also relied on Articles 1 (obligation to respect human rights) and 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).

Article 2
Concerning the alleged killings of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou:
The Court noted that it had not been contested that Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou had voluntarily entered the UN buffer zone. However, the parties had disagreed as to what had actually caused their deaths. The Court was unable to accept the Turkish Government's versions of facts. It observed that those versions had been contradicted by witness statements and had no reason to doubt their independence and trustworthiness.

The Court also observed that the applicants' versions had been confirmed by photographic evidence and video footage of the killings. Nothing in those images, whose authenticity had not been contested by the Turkish Government, had suggested that Mr Isaak had been carrying weapons or that he had been entangled in barbed wire, or that, in the case of Solomou, there had been crossfire.

The Court further noted that a medical report had concluded that the cause of Mr Isaak's death had been "multiple head trauma". As for Mr Solomou, he had been hit by five bullets, a fact which was hard to reconcile with the theory that his shooting had not been intentional.

The Court also considered that the killings of Mr Isaak and Mr Solomou had not been necessary to defend "any person from unlawful violence". It seemed that both of them had been unarmed and had not been attacking anyone, and it had been obvious that they could hardly have escaped from the control of the security forces.

Moreover, in both cases, the killings could not be considered as measures aimed at quelling violence generated by protests. In the case of Isaak, the Court considered that the savage beating of Mr Isaak in front of the other demonstrators, without any attempt to apprehend him, could have led to even more violent reactions by the Greek-Cypriot side. Furthermore, the Turkish or Turkish-Cypriot forces had apparently not co-ordinated their actions with the UNFICYP ; indeed, the latter had tried to stop the soldiers' participation in the mob. In the case of Solomou, the Court stressed that it had not been contested that only one demonstrator - Mr Solomou - had crossed the ceasefire line and that he had been unarmed. The first shots had been directed at him and could therefore hardly be described as measures aimed at calming the violent behaviour of the other demonstrators, who had still been in the UN buffer zone.

Accordingly, the Court concluded that Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou had been killed by agents of the Turkish State and that the use of force had not been justified, in violation of Article 2.
Concerning the alleged inadequacy of the investigations

In both cases the Court noted that the Turkish Government had failed to produce any evidence showing that an investigation had been carried out into the circumstances of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou's deaths. Nor had they submitted that, more than 11 years after the incidents, those responsible for the killings had been identified and called to account before a domestic court. The Court accordingly held that there had been a violation of Article 2.

Other Articles of the Convention
The Court considered that, in the light of the conclusions reached under Article 2, it was not necessary to examine whether there had also been a violation of Articles 8 and 14 in the case of Isaak, and Articles 1, 3, 8 and 14 in the case of Solomou.

Article 41
Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court awarded 80,000 euros (EUR) to Anastasios Isaak's widow for pecuniary damage. In respect of non-pecuniary damage, the Court awarded EUR 35,000 each to Anastasios Isaak's widow, his parents, and to Solomos Solomou's father, and also EUR 15,000 to each of Anastasios Isaak's and Solomos Solomou's siblings. The applicants in both cases were also awarded EUR 12,000 for costs and expenses.

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Last Modified: 13-01-2014 16:18:19 (Documentation SIM)