By Tsovinar Nazarian
Armenia has faced approximately one thousand lawsuits ever since it submitted to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in early 2002, the only Armenian member of the Strasbourg-based tribunal said on Thursday.
According to Alvina Gyulumian, most of those lawsuits were filed by Azerbaijani citizens who were forced to flee their homes in and around Nagorno-Karabakh during the 1991-1994. They want Armenia to compensate them for the loss of their homes and other property.
Hundreds of Armenians displaced by the conflict have taken similar action against the government of Azerbaijan.
The European Court has yet to pass judgment on any of the Azerbaijani suits. All of its 14 rulings against Armenia handed down to date concern appeals lodged by Armenian citizens.
Only 11 of them have been made public yet. Gyulumian said the European Court will formally announce the three other rulings next month. She declined to disclose them.
The Strasbourg court’s most famous ruling on Armenia was announced in June. It fined the Armenian government 30,000 euros ($42,000) over its failure to grant a new broadcasting license to A1+, the country’s leading independent TV station controversially pulled off the air in April 2002. The government reportedly complied with the judgment last month.
Gyulumian said most of the other Armenia verdicts related to the violation of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing citizens’ right to fair trial and freedom of assembly. As recently as on December 2, the European Court ordered the Yerevan government to compensate three Armenian village residents who had spent ten days in prison for their participation in opposition rallies in Yerevan held in 2003. Each of the plaintiffs is to receive 4,500 euros ($6,300) in “non-pecuniary” damages.