The U.K. government announced on Wednesday that it reached a settlement over claims made by 33 EOKA veterans who were tortured while in detention during the 1955-1959 Cypriot struggle for liberation.
The ”full and final” out-of-court settlement was reached between the U.K. government and 33 veteran E.O.K.A. fighters, who were pursuing damages for torture they suffered at the hands of the British colonial forces during the liberation struggle of 1955-1959.
The legal settlement was announced in a statement issued by the British government. A written statement to the House of Commons by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to follow soon.
The government’s announcement states that ”the passage of time means that it is now no longer possible to establish all of the facts with certainty.” The statement added that the British government is settling the case in order to finish the litigation, avoid any further escalation of costs, and to “focus firmly on the future on its relations with Cyprus”.
The British government also stated that the U.K. 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 concluded by saying that “it is a matter of regret for the U.K. 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”.
Responding to the U.K.’s move, the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus welcomed the statement by noting that this is “a courageous act” on behalf of Great Britain.
E.O.K.A. was a Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organization which fought for the end of British rule in Cyprus, for the island’s self-determination and for the eventual union of Cyprus with Greece.
With information from C.N.A.