EOKA Veterans against British Government: First Steps Forward

Author: N. Pirilides & Associates LLC
Date:2014-10-27
Our firm in collaboration with K.J Conroy & Co solicitors a Birmingham – based law firm and other law firms based in Cyprus is acting on behalf of former EOKA veterans in a claim against the British Government for human rights abuses suffered during the 1955-1959 struggle against colonial rule. 
 
The move was encouraged by the High Court decision in 2011 to allow three Kenyans who also accused the colonial government of torture, to sue Britain over human rights abuse perpetrated during the Mau-Mau uprising in 1950s. The case was settled with the British government paying compensation to the Mau-Mau torture victims. Although there was no admission of liability, the Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed his “sincere regret” for the torture and ill treatment Kenyans suffered under the colonial administration. 
 
Although the Mau-Mau case was settled and the courts did not decide on the issue of liability against the British Government, we believe that it still sets a precedent. In particular the Court’s favourable attitude in Mau-Mau case towards the issue of the limitation definitely opens a path to EOKA veterans. Despite the fact that the alleged crimes took place more than half a century ago, it is still possible to achieve a fair trial. 
 
Considerable amount of time and effort is being spent on the gathering of evidence and preparing the witness statements considering the age of each claimant. Fresh evidence that will shed light on the events during 1955-1959 and torture allegations are expected to emerge once the research into the International Red Cross archive in Geneva is completed.
 
One of the main hurdles to overcome is the disclosure of the British Government’s colonial-era archives. Research has shown that there are also archives held by the European Court of Human Rights in respect of the application lodged against the British Government in 1959, the disclosure of which may provide further evidential assistance in this case.        

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