EOKA veterans reach out of court settlement with UK Government

A full and final out of court settlement has been reached between the UK Government and 33 veteran EOKA fighters, who were pursuing damages for the tortures they suffered in the hands of the colonial forces during the Liberation Struggle of 1955-59.

The legal settlement has been announced in a government statement. A written statement to the House of Commons by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also expected.

The statement notes that the settlement does not constitute any admission of liability and is not a precedent in respect of any potential future claims against the Government: the passage of time means that it is now no longer possible to establish all of the facts with certainty. The Government has settled the case in order to draw a line under this litigation, avoid the further escalation of costs, and to focus firmly on the future in its relations with Cyprus.

It adds that in reaching this settlement, the UK Government reaffirms its highest respect for the memory and sacrifice of British and Cypriot service personnel and employees of the Crown who gave their lives, who lost family members or loved ones, or whose lives suffered permanent disruption as a result of the Emergency.

The statement also acknowledges the strongly held views of many Cypriots about the Emergency and concludes that it is a matter of regret for the UK Government that the transition of Cyprus from British administration to independence should have been preceded by five years of violence and loss of life, affecting all residents of the island.

The statement stresses the importance of learning from the past, but also looking to the future and underlines the bilateral relationship that the UK shares with Cyprus today as one of friendship and close partnership; spanning a broad network of security, personal, business, administrative, cultural and educational ties.

The UK Government reaffirms its commitment to building a modern, forward-looking relationship between the UK and Cyprus, built on shared values of mutual respect and full equality.

The civil law claim was brought against the UK Government in July 2015.

High Commissioner Stephen Lillie said: This is an important milestone in our bilateral relationship. I know there are many strongly held views about the final years of British rule in Cyprus. We recognise and respect that. But now we must look to the future.UK-Cyprus relations are at the highest level they have ever been, and there is scope for expanding those links even further in the coming years. The UK is committed to building a modern, forward-looking relationship with Cyprus, built on shared values of mutual respect and full equality.

Source: Cyprus News Agency