Affiliated with the University of Nicosia
THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE SOVEREIGN BASE AREAS IN CYPRUS
By Achilleas C. Aimilianides
Department of Law, University of Nicosia
According to article 2 § 2 of the Treaty of Establishment, the Republic of Cyprus shall co – operate fully with the United Kingdom, in order to ensure the security and effective operation of such military Bases, as well as the full enjoyment by the United Kingdom of the rights conferred by the Treaty. The legal status of the SBAs was confirmed by Protocol 3 of the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Cyprus in the European Union, entitled ‘on the Base Areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus’, where it is provided that the Treaty shall not apply to the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, except to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the agreements set out in the Protocol. A significant development which coincided with the accession of Cyprus in the European Union, was, however, the decision of the British Government to extend the application of the European Convention on Human Rights to the SBAs with effect from 1st May 2004; since the aforementioned development, all citizens of the Republic who live or go through the SBAs ought to be able to enjoy the rights and freedoms that they would have elsewhere in the island.
Concluding, however, that the SBAs are a colony is not so
simple, since the
Another approach would be to characterize the SBAs as
sui generis servitudes in favour of the
It is submitted that the view according to which ‘sovereignty’ over the SBAs equals to effective control over military base areas is the correct one. It could therefore, be argued that the SBAs could not have a right to territorial sea, since only states can exercise such a right, according to international law. While article 3 of Annex A of the Treaty of Establishment provides that the Republic of Cyprus shall not claim as part of its territorial sea, waters lying between the four Lines described in the Annex, this has been interpreted as a sui generis right of the Base Areas to control some part of the territorial sea, as well as a sui generis obligation of the Republic of Cyprus to accept certain restrictions to the extent of its right to territorial sea; the purpose of the aforementioned provision with regard to territorial sea, was to safeguard free access to the territory controlled by the SBAs and under no circumstances to accept that the British Base Areas have a right to territorial sea. It is also suggested that the relevant provisions of the Treaty of Establishment do not recognize a right of the British Base Areas to continental shelf; such argument is strengthened by the fact that the United Kingdom has not objected in any way to the agreement between Cyprus and Egypt, which recognizes the right of the Republic of Cyprus to continental shelf in the area, opposite to the SBAs.
|Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs|
Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved
Makedonitissis 46, 2417 Egkomi CYPRUS | P.O.Box 24005, 1700 CYPRUS