Entrenching Hegemony in Cyprus: The Doctrine of Necessity and the Principle of Bicommunality
33 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 22, 2019
This paper explores the relationship between law and exception by focusing on the specific case of Cyprus. It argues that the Cypriot judiciary was able to address the exceptional situation with which it was faced – the withdrawal of Turkish Cypriots from their governmental positions, thus rendering the state unable to function in accordance with the Constitution – by devising and relying on the legal doctrine of necessity. While reliance on the doctrine was indeed a necessary response to the calamity that faced the country in 1963, its contradictory and opportunistic application since then has resulted in the entrenchment of power of the Greek Cypriot majority to the detriment of other minority groups. On the one hand, the Greek Cypriot legislature has restricted minority group rights by arguing that the special political circumstances that exist on the island justify the departure from constitutional protections through the doctrine of necessity. On the other, and in cases where the doctrine was used as a tool to promote, rather than restrict, human rights, the argument has been that any limitations on these rights are mandated by the Constitution itself, whose relevant provisions are impossible to amend.
Keywords: Cyprus; doctrine of necessity, principle of bicommunality, constitutional amendments
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