British Court rejects Foreign Office’s argument in preliminary EOKA case ruling

A British Administrative Court has ruled against the Foreign Office in a preliminary argument put forward in relation to a claim by former EOKA fighters against the British Government.

Thirty-four Cypriot plaintiffs, who took part in the EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters) struggle for independence from the British colonial rule in 1955-59, are seeking damages against the Foreign Office.

Justice Kerr ruled that the argument put forward by the British side that the claim ought to be heard taking into account elements of Cypriot law also.

The ruling is thought to be positive for the Cypriot plaintiffs since had the claim been heard in accordance to Cypriot law it would be easy for counsel acting on behalf the British government to claim that the offences may have fallen under the statute of limitations due to the time which has passed since.

Arguments on behalf of both sides had been presented before the Court in November.

Plaintiffs are seeking damages for beatings, rape and other tortured they suffered during the EOKA period. They are basing their allegations on Red Cross archives and Foreign Office Archives which have been declassified and contain admissions of torture by British officers.

In 2013 Britain announced that it would pay out £19.9m in costs and compensation to more than 5,000 elderly Kenyans who suffered torture and abuse during the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s.

source: CNA