This is the first time that Armenia has payed more than 1 million EUR in compensation for human rights violations per a ECHR verdict
The European Court of Human Rights Has ordered Armenia to pay a fine of 1.6 million euros to 83-year-old Armenian citizen Yuri Vardanyan for human rights violations.
This amount exceeds the total amount of compensation established for all verdicts handed down against Armenia from 2007 to 2018.
In 2007, residents of Yerevan Yuri Vardanyan, Artashes Vardanyan and Shushanik Nanushyan, residing at 13 Buzand Street, filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights.
They announced that their property, namely the house and the land plot, had been seized by the state and that they received disproportionate compensation for this – and only for part of their property.
In the 2000s, old houses in the central part of the capital were demolished, as it was decided to build the so-called Northern Avenue. During its development, hundreds of residents of the small center of Yerevan lost their homes, sometimes for meager compensation.
In particular, the family that applied to the ECHR was paid a sum several times lower than the market value as compensation.
Instead of being given $570,000 for their home, the Vardanyan family was given just $111,000 in drams.
As for compensation for land, it was not paid at all.
This decision was justified by the fact that the land is not the property of the Vardanyans.
The ECHR verdict
The violation of the rights of Yuri Vardanyan and his family was recognized by the European Court of Human Rights in 2016.
Then the ECHR accused the chairman of the Court of Cassation of Armenia Arman Mkrtumyan of bias and the fact that he violated the right to a fair trial.
In Armenia, this case was actively discussed, and the professional community even demanded that Mkrtumyan leave his post. However, the judge was in no hurry and left his post only after the “velvet” revolution of 2018 and the change of power.
And in July 2019, the European Court of Human Rights decided on the amount of compensation.
Representative of Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights Yeghishe Kirakosyan in an interview with RFE/RL said what the Armenian government will do once the court decision comes into force.
“Of course, this is an obligation that Armenia must fulfill immediately. This is an unconditional commitment. At the moment, the government is discussing possible options [for the payments], given the heavy burden on the state budget, to mitigate this impact on the budget. For example, payment in installments…”
However, if the applicant does not agree with this proposal, then, according to Kirakosyan, the state will be obliged to pay the full amount immediately.
The incident is also being discussed in society.
People are unhappy that the current government is being forced to pay a huge fine from the pocket of taxpayers for a violation that occurred as a result of the illegal decisions of the former authorities.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan explained that the Republic of Armenia is obliged to fulfill its obligations regardless of who made this decision:
“This obligation exists, and the Republic of Armenia bears responsibility. Not a [specific] government – the government of Nikol Pashinyan or any other … Of course, it is very unfortunate that such a large amount has to be paid. But we need to fix the fact that we pay for a specific violation of the law that has occurred. And as a state that has committed itself, we must be aware that this is, to some extent, the price for violating the law. ”