Negation Of International Law

Australian citizen Steven Katsineris with a letter regarding the double standards applied by his government to international law. 

Dear Editor, 

It was very interesting to read Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s words in reaction to the international tribunal, at the Permanent Court of Arbitration decision (The Australian, 14 July, 2016) rejecting the validity of China’s 9-dash line sovereignty over islands and waters in the South China Sea region. She said in part, “To ignore it would be a serious international transgression. There would be strong reputational costs.”

While it is good to see Australia take such a strong stance in support of the respect of international law, it is a great pity Australia remains so quiet or ignores international law in other similar situations.

There are of course far too many instances where some countries have been allowed to negate international law and the world community has not enforced compliance. Seems to be a double standard that some countries are expected to abide by rulings of international law, while other countries that snub these decisions are let off. 

In the case of Cyprus, Turkey has flouted international law, breached the UN Charter, various UN Resolutions and violated multiple international human rights laws, in relation to its continued illegal occupation of northern Cyprus since the July 1974 invasion.

Specifically, the Turkish army’s human rights abuses at the time of conflict, the expulsion of 200,000 Cypriot civilians from their homes, Turkey’s repeated refusal to allow the return of refugees to the north and the looting of the property of Cypriot refugees.

It would be more principled and consistent if Australia did more to strongly urge Turkey to withdraw its troops and respect and abide by international law in relation to the lingering injustice in Cyprus.

After more than 40 years of blatant inaction the world needs to act to resolve this issue and assist the Cypriot people to regain their island’s rightful freedom and unity.

Steven Katsineris.


  1. The author should keep this in mind:
    "Turkey’s operation on Cyprus in 1974 is completely legal".
    The reasons:

    (1) Till now, there is NO sanction applied on Turkey due to 1974 Cyprus war
    If a country invades another one, UN imposes sanctions on that country. Iraq invaded Kuwait, and UN imposed sanctions on Iraq. Turkey did not invade Cyprus, hence UN did not impose any sanction on Turkey!

    (2) There is no UN Security Council resolution that calls the Turkey’s 1974 action as “invasion”!

    (3) The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) (29.07.1974, Resolution 573): “The Turkish military INTERVENTION was the exercise of a RIGHT EMANATING FROM AN INTERNATIONAL TREATY and the fulfilment of a LEGAL and MORAL obligation.”

    (4) Greece’s Athens Court of Appeals (21.03.1979; Case No: 2658/79): “The Turkish military INTERVENTION in Cyprus, which was carried out in accordance with the Zurich and London Accords, was LEGAL. Turkey, as one of the Guarantor Powers, had the right to fulfill her obligations. The real culprits . . . are the Greek officers who engineered and staged a coup and prepared the conditions for this INTERVENTION.” Note: Just after 5 years later than 1974, in 1979, Greece’s Highest Court decided Turkish military intervention is legal without making any difference between 1st and 2nd military operation!

    (5) Makarios (1ST PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS) (the UN Security Council Speech, 19 July 1974):
    MAKARIOS: “CYPRUS WAS INVADED BY GREECE”. Sound record of the speech:

    (6) Turkey acted on Cyprus via Art. IV(2) Treaty of Guarantee (“In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present treaty, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom undertake to consult together with respect to the representations or measures necessary to ensure observance of those provisions. IN SO FAR AS COMMON OR CONCERTED ACTION MAY NOT PROVE POSSIBLE, EACH of the three GUARANTEEING POWERs reserves THE RIGHT TO TAKE ACTION with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty.”), hence in compatible with Art. 2(4) UN Charter.

  2. It is always heartening to see a piece prompting such a detailed and thought out response.