Cyprus will nominate the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize it was announced on Wednesday.

“The Council of Ministers today authorised the Minister of Justice and Public Order to submit a proposal to the Nobel Prize Laureate for the European Court of Human Rights,” said deputy government spokesman, Panayiotis Sentonas after Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

He added that the reasoning behind this proposal was that the ECHR “is an important institution in particular in terms of defending human rights but also in safeguarding international justice. It contributes to the realisation and promotion of world peace and coexistence.”

The ECHR has long been involved in disputes over land ownership in Cyprus since the division.

More recently the Republic of Cyprus informed the ECHR that it wishes to take part as a third party in the proceedings concerning a lawsuit filed by a Greek Cypriot company for its property in Varosha.The ECHR was founded in the context of the Council of Europe which encompasses 47 countries with a population of about 820 million people. The ECHR is separate from the EU.

In October Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said Cyprus has had an unfortunately long and bitter experience due to the non-execution of the ECHR rulings, as authorities in Ankara persistently refuse to comply and execute decisions against Turkey.

The foreign minister stressed Cyprus’ unwavering support for the court. “The ECHR will continue to effectively play its role as the guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights and remain the major player for the protection, dissemination and continuous renewal of the pan-European principles of freedom, human dignity, equality, democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

The foreign minister also referred to the challenges related to the ECHR’s operation that need to be addressed.

He said that during the 60 years of its operation the court has examined and dealt with 840,000 individual applications – of which 1,150 concern Cyprus – and has issued more than 21,000 judicial decisions.

Currently approximately 60,000 other applications are still pending before it, he added. (Cyprus Mail)