The Immovable Property Commission
: An Exercise in Transitional Justice in Cyprus?

  • Meliz Erdem

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


As a long-standing issue both for the main actors of the conflict and the international community, Cyprus has been on the UN’s agenda including several attempts at brokered solutions. The international efforts to resolve the enduring problems have borne little fruit. However, one of the most innovative has been the establishment of the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) in the north to address claims relating to property abandoned by Greek Cypriots who fled south.
This thesis considers two sets of question raised by these events. The first concerns why the IPC was established, how it functions, the challenges it faces and how these might be addressed. As a lawyer working for this unique institution, I fully recognize that, together with other methodological issues, this privileged perspective creates a host of well-rehearsed challenges considered more fully later.
The second concerns how the IPC can be characterized with respect to the vast and varied literatures on, for example, security, peace, conflict, civil war and transitional justice. This study concentrates upon the IPC alone, and situates it within a transitional/transformative justice framework, for the following principal reasons. First, rising to the challenge of describing how this unique institution operates, and seeking to identify its strengths and weaknesses, would make a distinctive contribution to scholarship allowing others to make comparisons they may deem appropriate. Second, because the IPC is undeniably a “justice” institution which has emerged out of a series of transitions Cyprus has undergone since the 1960s, these two characteristics would necessarily occupy centre stage whatever the governing analytical framework. Finally, in addressing one type of injustice, the IPC may also, paradoxically and inadvertently, be contributing to others, including the deeper institutionalization of partition, a conundrum which has significant policy implication.
Date of Award23 Jun 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSteven Greer (Supervisor)

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