ECHR supported Armenian farmers, the government ought to pay compensations

14.3.2019 - STRASBOURG / TEGHOUT
Plaintiffs discussing the issue with environmentalists from Yerevan
PHOTO: Ecolur.org

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favor of the plaintiffs of the North-Armenian province of Lori. All six complaints of Armenian courts were in the question of violating their property rights. After almost three years, the tribunal backed those allegations and imposed finals to the government with a total amount of €70,000. The news on the verdict was reported by the Tert.am news portal.

The reason behind the cases is the purchase of agricultural land by Armenian Copper Program (ACP), and the Russian-owned mining company operating near the villages of Teghout and Shnogh. In November of 2007, the Armenian government decision changed and took away the status of the entire area in question located near the border of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The owners were later offered a financial settlement by ACP and its affiliate Teghout CJSC, but they considered the price to be well below the market value.

"The villagers received miserable compensation-- about 10-20 cents per square meter of land-- paid by ACP for their fertile lands and crops. Some villagers lost their property, while others' property will be largely affected by and eventually degraded by mining,” according to the 2012 appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

After that, a series of court trials followed by the mining company sought to force the farmers to agree to sell; they, again, defended against allegedly unfair procedures and courts' verdicts.

Farmers eventually decided to seek justice in Strasbourg with the ECHR in 2009-2010, which just ruled in favor of all six of the official complaints. The Armenian government has been paying damages from €5,200 to €17,200 to each plaintiff with a total amount of €69,400.

"The ECHR judgment says that an unfair trial has been carried out. This is, once again, to call upon the court. At that time, the evidence submitted to the Court of First Instance was not sufficient, as the expert dared to carry the double assessment of my land areas,” said one of the plaintiffs, Levon Alikhanyan.

The Armenian Copper Program (ACP) is part of the Russian-owned Vallex Group, which also runs a copper smelting plant near Alaverdi. The whole of the metallurgical industry here is strongly affecting the health of the local population. Analyses of samples taken here have shown contamination with toxic substances, especially copper, zinc, molybdenum, lead and arsenic.

 

1 / The two resolutions of 1 November 2007 1278-N and 1279-N.

Find the Judgments of the ECHR through the links below:
Case of Ramazyan v. Armenia  (54769/10)
Case of Levon Alikhanyan v. Armenia  (6818/10)
Case of Parsadanyan v. Armenia  (5444/10)
Case of Vardanyan and Hakhverdyan v. Armenia  (4178/10)
Case of Mashinyan and Ramazyan v. Armenia  (65124/09)
Case of Mher Alikhanyan v. Armenia  (4413/10)

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