The Grand Chamber delivers judgments on “Chiragov and others v. Armenia” and “Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan” cases

On 12 December 2017 the European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Grand Chamber, ruled on the question of just satisfaction in the cases of “Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan” (application no. 40167/06) and “Chiragov and Others v. Armenia” (application no. 13216/05). It held, unanimously, that in Sargsyan case the Azerbaijani Government had to pay the applicant 5,000 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and EUR 30,000 in respect of costs and expenses. Whereas in “Chiragov and Others” case the Armenian Government had to pay EUR 5,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage to each of the applicants and a total amount of 28,642.87 pounds sterling for costs and expenses.

It has to be reminded that back on 16 June 2015 the European Court, ruling on the merits of these cases, found a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the European Convention on Human Rights; a continuing violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention; and a continuing violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in both cases without addressing the question of just satisfaction since it was not ready for decision.

The Sargsyan case concerned a complaint lodged by an Armenian refugee who, after having been forced to flee from his home in the Shahumyan region of Azerbaijan in 1992 during the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, had since been denied the right to return to his village and to have access to and use of his property there.

In the “Chiragov and Others” case six Azerbaijani refugees lodged complaints by claiming that they were unable to return to their homes and obtain back their property in the district of Lachin from where they had been forced to flee in 1992 during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In both of the cases the European Court underlined the responsibility of the two States concerned to find a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pending a solution on the political level, the European Court considered it appropriate to award the applicants aggregate sums for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.

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