The number of victims of eminent domain is increasing
"In 2011 no positive changes took place in the field of property, moreover there were such developments that refreshed the previous wounds" says the president of "Victims of state needs" NGO Sedrak Baghdasaryan mentioning as an example the new building in Aram street where the residents of alienated houses of Buzand street must have received apartments.
"It was found out that 172 apartments of that building had been already sold to more than 700 citizens" he mentions.
In Baghdasaryan's opinion the problems are increasing as the Government does not have the desire to give a positive and objective solution to the problem. As a proof he mentions the RA law on "The alienation of property for society and state needs" enacted in 2006, and he claims that it should be revised because it does not fully provide the citizen's protection of property rights.
There is not only a progress but also the number of victims for state needs is increasing. Sedrak Baghdasaryan enumerates the new decisions of the Government on "the eminent domain" and adds "The Government is not satisfied with the territories of Yerevan and has reached the "tidbits" of Armenia hiding under the name of eminent domain decided to alienate them".
One of the decisions concerns the alienation of around 100 hectares of irrigated lands near the village Artavazd in Kotayk region. The land was sold to "L & M Ray" LLC to build a mineral water factory there. 10 families of the village applied to the court to protect their property rights.
The next one is the Decision 627 made by the Government on April 28, 2011 according to which 181,7 hectares of agricultural lands in Syunik region were recognized as eminent domain, the target value of the land was changed and they became industrial and for lithosphere use. The land was given to "Zangezur copper plant" CJSC with the tenancy right to produce ore.
27 hectares of the alienated land belongs to village Kajaran whose residents have started a struggle to invalidate the Government's decision.
Now the process of alienation is continuing in Kond, Kozern and Firdusi districts and in the territory near Sakharov square.
In 2011 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made 2 judgments and 5 decisions on property rights concerning Armenia. The judgments were made according to the appeals sent by Buzand street residents.
"ECHR judgments were not a lesson for the authorities"
The first one is the judgment made on June 7 with a complaint of Nelli Minasyan and Yelena Semerjyan against Republic of Armenia. The European Court had recognized the fact of violation of right in September 2009 and this year it made a decision on the amount of compensation for property. According to judgment of ECHR Republic of Armenia must compensate EUR 14,500.
"The court reasoned that as the property is missing it cannot make conclusions on assessment whether the compensation was proportionate to the property or not, they grounded their decision on the data provided by Government" says the attorney of the applicants Liza Grigoryan.
Liza considers the ECHR decision "dangerous". "It turns out, that the state can take the property for a small compensation, then abolish that property, and the court can never have a clear idea about its market price", the attorney tells www.hra.am
ECHR made the next judgment on the case of Hovhannisyan and Shiroyan against Republic of Armenia on November 15, 2011. The court obliged the RA Government to pay EUR 18.500 to the applicants for the compulsory eviction and violation of the right to property in 2005. The builder gave USD 10.500 as compensation, however that sum was not enough to buy an apartment and they have been living in a rented flat up to now.
According to Sedrak Baghdasaryan, 5 judgments made by the ECHR are concluded on the basis of the suggestions of the RA Government.
The ECHR obliged the Government to pay Irina Yedigaryan, the former resident of 36 Pushkin, AMD 29.5 million, Ashot Poghosyan, the former resident of 25 Byuzand EUR 45.000, and to provide each of the former owners of 25Byuzand Sedrak Baghdasaryan, Grigori Hovhannisyan and Levon Ghasabyan with a 115-117 square meter dwelling space apartment in the elite building built in the place of their demolished houses. To remind, that building was built by "Griar" CJSC. The Government is obliged to implement the above mentioned 5 decisions within 3 months.
"The European Court of Human Rights decisions "give a lesson" to the authorities", says the president of "The Victims of State Needs" NGO. He finds the fact that the compensation to the owners is given from the RA budget unfair.
"The RA citizens pay for the willfulness and plunder of former president, mayor and judges. If the public rebels saying "Dear Government, please explain why do we have to compensate and pay money at our expense for several illegal decisions?" and when those officials and judges, who made the illegal decisions, were held accountable and had to compensate at their own expense, we would have fair trial and the functionaries would have been more careful", thinks Baghdasaryan.
According to the data of "The Victims of State Need" NGO, the ECHR made 8 judgments on the property right up to now. And more than 15 cases still need to be solved. According to Baghdasaryan, 5-7 decisions would probably be made in the near future, because there already are precedential judgments.
"It's true that the decision will not be made soon, but I want our society to realize that they have to struggle for the property and the rights in general. If you struggle, you will succeed. Those decisions and judgments show that we should not fall into despair. And those people who would still apply to the court would not have to wait for 6 years", advises Mr. Baghdasaryan who has been struggling with the Byuzand street residents to defend their rights for already 7 years.