On October 7, on the initiative of the President of the RA National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan the fact-finding parliamentary hearings were held on the theme “The Problems of Violation of the Right to Property as a Consequence of Exclusive Eminent Domain with the Programme ‘Northern Avenue-Cascade’ by the State. MPs, representatives of the NGOs and international organizations and stakeholders took part in the hearings.
The RA NA Vice President Vahe Enfiajyan made opening remarks. He noted that more than a dozen of judicial processes, protest actions were held particularly in Yerevan on the problems and there was necessity of permanently clarifying them. According to the NA Vice President, the realized territories are many in the capital: Kond, Firdousi Street, Sari Tagh (Mountain Quarter), Pushkin Street and other quarters and their problems. Vahe Enfiajyan informed that he had regularly met with the inhabitants living in those quarters for organizing exhaustive debates on the issue.
In his speech the RA NA Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan thanked the Deputy Speaker Vahe Enfiajyan and the deputy of the NA My Step Faction Gayane Abrahamyan for addressing him with the proposal of organizing public hearings.
The Head of the parliament has noted that he has known about the problem long ago, and he has participated in the various events organized for Aram and Buzand streets. “Our efforts directed to building a legal state will be incomplete, if we don’t touch upon the citizens’ property deprivation process and the mass violations of the right to property that have taken place under the name eminent domain before,” Ararat Mirzoyan said. According to the NA President, the problem is multi-layer and is at different planes. “According to numerous observations, the self-sovereignty and the arbitrariness, perhaps also own business and financial interests of the high ranking officials of different circles of the executive power have been revealed in those processes. We speak about the corruption disclosures,” the Head of the parliament noted and informed that in the frameworks of the transit justice we should certainly touch upon these problems, re-examine them and in case of approving the facts find and punish those guilty. “Besides the interests and participation of different persons of the executive power, a perfect dependence of the judicial power has been manifested from the concerned representatives of the executive power, and its evidence is perhaps the fact that numerous judgments made today have the opposite end in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),” Ararat Mirzoyan said. According to the Head of the Parliament, the most important thing is the restoration of the victims’ rights. “As a result of the re-examination, in case of the establishment of facts, we should undertake practical steps for the restoration of the victims’ rights. In today’s speeches circumstances have been noted which are worth the law enforcement bodies’ attention, and I am going to send the recording of these speeches to the law enforcement bodies, where they will make a decision: which is a basis and a fact for undertaking actions. We, as a political team, and our power have absolutely no inhibition in terms of continuing the works in the abovementioned directions and its evidence serve first those hearings, and also the existence of the fact-finding group is in the strategy made by the Ministry of Justice,” the President of the National Assembly added.
The RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan delivered a speech on the theme “The Problem of Protection of the Right to Property in the Eminent Domain Recognition Process.”
According to Arman Tatoyan, since the beginning of the 2000s the citizens’ private flats, constructions and land plots have been recognized as exclusive eminent domain by the government for the public needs and have been alienated with the substantiation for the state needs.
The MP Gayane Abrahamyan has expressed conviction that the path of building a genuine democratic and legal state is failed, unless the deselected or ignored cases have not been decrypted and re-opened, and the rights and dignity of the citizens deprived of property have not been restored. Gayane Abrahamyan expressed hope that with the stakeholders’ joint efforts it is possible to restore the justice.
The Chairman of the NGO Victims of State Needs Sedrak Baghdasaryan thanked the organizers for giving an opportunity to voice the problem from the NA tribune after 15 years.
The RA First Deputy Minister of Justice Rafik Grigoryan informed that the Ministry initiated works for restoring the rights of the citizens deprived of the right to property as a consequence of recognizing as eminent domain. He had meetings with the stakeholders and has noted that the Ministry is ready to raise all the ways and go through their solution.
The Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Center Transparency International Sona Ayvazyan in her speech spoke about the violations in a number of laws in 2000 related to the owners’ rights, by depriving them of properties. She is hopeful that political assessments will be given to all of them and criminal cases will be sued. She has highlighted the necessity of the legislative amendments.
The RA Former Deputy Minister of Culture Tigran Galstyan underscored that during that period there had been destructions of historical-cultural monuments. According to the speaker, by the investors’ wish in the Northern Avenue about 30 monuments were destroyed. Tigran Galstyan expressed hope that similar events would never be repeated in Armenia.
The Ethnographer Hranush Kharatyan proposed the attendees to find practical solutions for the problems. She has asked to study who has got new territories, who are wealthy owners.
The RA NA deputy Arusyak Julhakyan highlighted the necessity of holding hearings and expressed conviction that by evaluating the past we should have the protection of the victims’ rights on the basis of the transit justice. The MP touched upon the ECHR judgment on Yuri Vardanyan’s case and Pavel Anderson’s well-known interview.
In their speeches the participants voiced the cases of violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens deprived of their properties through compulsory alienation and the existing legal violations in different phases of the process implementation.