The Immovable Property Commission (IPC) was set up under the Immovable Property Law (67/2005) in accordance with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Xenides-Arestis v Turkey. The purpose of this measure was to establish an effective domestic remedy for claims relating to abandoned properties in North Cyprus.
The European Court on Human Rights (ECHR), with their decision on 1 March 2010 as to the admissibility of Demopoulos and Others v Turkey found that Law 67/2005 provides an effective remedy and rejected the complaints of applicants for “non-exhaustion” of domestic remedies.
The ECHR went through the findings of the IPC and concluded that the procedures of the commission were satisfactory and in line with the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore the Court decided that the applicants should apply to the IPC before making any approach to the ECHR. If, and only when, the applicants are not satisfied with the conclusion, an appeal could then be made to the ECHR.
The members of the IPC
The Immovable Property Commission officially began its activities on 17 March 2006 upon the appointment of its President, Vice-President and members by the Supreme Council of Judicature. Candidates were nominated by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Commission has been re-established in accordance with the provisions laid down under Law 67/2005. The IPC consists of Mr Ayfer Erkmen (President), Mr Romans Mapolar (Vice-President), Mrs Sümer Erkmen, Mr Hans C Kruger, Mr Güngör Günkan, Mr Daniel Tarschys and Mrs Saskia Yorucu.
Who can apply to the IPC?
The IPC examines claims for restitution, compensation and exchange according to the provisions of the law 67/2005. Its considerations are based on the principles of bizonality and bicommunality which have been common elements of the 1977-1979 high level agreements as well as plans for a settlement of the Cyprus issue prepared by the United Nations. It seeks to satisfy the legitimate claims of property owners without prejudice to the rights of the Turkish Cypriot Community.
As of March 2018, approximately 6,415 applications have been lodged with the Commission and 888 of them have been concluded through friendly settlements and 27 through formal hearing. The Commission has paid around £270,000,000 to the applicants as compensation.
Erginel Law has helped a number of Greek Cypriots to apply to the IPC. Positive results have been achieved and applicants have expressed their satisfaction with the work undertaken.