Proposal to the United Nations to establish an effective commission of inquiry to investigate "disappearances", "missing" persons and deliberate and arbitrary killings in Cyprus

August 1996
AI INDEX: EUR 17/01/96


Amnesty International has been raising the issue of "missing" and "disappeared" persons in Cyprus since the events of July 1974 - the coup in which President Makarios was overthrown and the subsequent landing on the island of Turkish armed forces. It called on all the relevant parties - the Cypriot Government, the Turkish Government and the Turkish Cypriot authorities - to investigate cases of people who appeared to have been taken into custody during the hostilities, but whose whereabouts were unknown. After receiving information about Turkish Cypriots "missing" since the intercommunal disturbances of 1963-64 Amnesty International raised these cases with the Cypriot Government. In no instance was Amnesty International informed directly by the authorities of any investigation undertaken or any case resolved. The organization was told that the respective parties had referred cases to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.

    In late 1995 and early 1996 for the first time new information came to light concerning at least some of the "missing" and "disappeared". In October 1995 there were reports in the Cyprus media that some of the Greek Cypriots listed as missing since 1974 had in fact died in action. In March 1996 the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, in an interview by a Greek Cypriot television station, admitted that some captured Greek Cypriots had been killed. That the families of all these missing and

"disappeared " persons have had to wait for more than 20 or 30 years to learn the fate of their relatives is inexcusable.

    The international body established under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) more than 15 years ago to resolve these cases, the Committee on Missing Persons, has failed to do so. Amnesty International welcomed the establishment of the Committee on Missing Persons and has provided information to it to assist in its inquiries. However, as a result of the failure of the Committee on Missing Persons after a decade and a half to resolve these cases, Amnesty International is calling upon the UN to establish a new body - an international commission of inquiry - which satisfies the strict international standards for such investigations, with adequate resources and powers, to conduct a thorough and impartial inquiry into all cases of "disappearance", "missing" and deliberate and arbitrary killings arising out of the events of 1963-64 and 1974. It is also calling upon all parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry so that families can learn the fate of their loved ones, those responsible can be brought to justice and the relatives of victims compensated for their loss.


This report summarizes a 11-page document (4,373 words), CYPRUS: Proposal to the United Nations to establish an effective commission of inquiry to investigate "disappearances", "missing" persons and deliberate and arbitrary killings in Cyprus.(AI Index: EUR 17/01/96) issued by Amnesty International in August 1996. Anyone wishing further details or to take action on this issue should consult the full document.