European Court found the right to property infringed, but the compensation is “symbolic”


European Court of Human Rights has satisfied the complaint of Ms. Nelly Minasyan and Ms. Yelena Semerjyan against Armenia and found their right to property infringed (Article 1 of the Protocol 1 of the European Convention).

European Court has satisfied the complaint on December 23, 2009 and declared that "expropriation of possession does not comply with the standards of lawfulness". Decision on compensation for the lost property was made on June 7, 2011. European Court decided that Armenia was to pay EUR 8,000 to Ms. Nelly Minasyan and Ms Yelena Semerjyan jointly: 8000 in respect of pecuniary damage, 4000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 2500 in respect of costs and expenses.

In 2004 the building located in 9 Byuzand Street was alienated for the state and public needs. The Construction Company offered to the ex-owner USD 6000 for 26 square-meters and additional USD 6000 for rapid vacation of the premises. The owner refused to sign a contract of the offered cost and applied to the court. After exhausting all domestic remedies and after alienation Ms. Nelly Minasyan and Ms. Yelena Semerjyan applied to the European Court of Human Rights.

The complainants claimed for EUR 200 000 compensation: EUR 133 000 in respect of estate and remaining in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. While deciding the sum of compensation, the Court had not corroborating evidences at its disposal in respect of the real cost of the estate and relied on the data produced by the State.

"The Court argued that because it is not possible to determine the value of the property as it does not exist, they can not make a conclusion on the proportionality of the compensation and awarded a symbolic sum", says attorney of the plaintiffs Lisa Grigoryan. 

She believes that the judgment of the Court is "dangerous". "It appeared that the State can expropriate the property, pay a modest sum and the Court will not be able to determine the market price".

According to the lawyer, although the judgment of the European Court was a moral victory, for the owner proportionate compensation is more important which was not provided.

There is more than 25 complaints from the residents of the same address sent to the European Court of Human Rights. Three applications were satisfied and two were refused.

Charmin of the NGO «The Victims of State Needs» Sedrak Baghdasaryan is confident that all the complaints on the violation of the right to property will be satisfied. «Our State will lose in all these cases and will pay the compensation from the state budget. If domestic courts had protected our rights, the Construction Company would pay us the compensation. However, today the Government and business are interrelated and nobody thinks about the state budget», says Mr. Baghdasaryan and adds that he would not want to see that the problem is settled that way.

Mary Aleksanyan