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IPC Pays Out 65.7 mln in Property Compensation

immovable property commissionAs of May 9th, 2011, the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) run by Turkish-Cypriot lawyers has paid out 65.7 million euros in compensation and restitution to usurped property owners from Turkish-held north Cyprus.

The amount paid out has risen since December 2010, when it stood at 58.4 million euros, said the IPC in a statement.

1,168 applications have been registered by the IPC and 162 have been concluded through friendly settlements and seven through formal hearings.

It ruled for exchange and compensation in two cases, for restitution in one case and for restitution and compensation in five cases. In one case it has delivered a decision for restitution after the settlement of Cyprus Issue, and in one case it has ruled for partial restitution.

Restitution is defined as damages paid out to the claimant based on unjust profit or enrichment. Compensation are damages based on losses to the claimant.

Once a Greek Cypriot has received compensation for their property, they can "under no condition, make a claim of right of ownership over immovable property for which they have received compensation," says the IPC.

In March 2010, the IPC was backed by the European Court of Human Rights as a legal local remedy where usurped property owners could seek compensation.

The ECHR's decision "did not put in doubt the fact that the government of the Republic of Cyprus remained the sole legitimate government of Cyprus," said the court in its decision. Nonetheless, the government has called on property owners to 'ignore' the IPC.

Property problems will not be solved through mass lawsuits, said President Demetris Christofias following the ECHR's decision. He said that the IPC may provide compensation for usurped and abandoned property, but at lower values than the property is worth.

But it is the people's right to go to court and sue for compensation, he said.

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