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10 Years Later, Court to Reconsider Case of Forced Expropriation in Downtown Yerevan

According to a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decision, the case of Emma Tunyan and her family's forced expropriation of their property in central Yerevan 10 years ago will be examined again in the domestic courts. The first hearing in the re-examination of the case will be held today at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork Marash Administrative Districts with Judge Ruben Apinyan presiding. This news was conveyed by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, the attorneys of which are representing Tunyan in court.  

Emma Tunyan was the owner of the land on Buzand Street, where her family has lived since the 1930s. In 2003, Tunyan was informed that her property was to be seized by the developer Glendale Hills — as in the case of hundreds of other property owners on Buzand St. A government decision justified the expropriation on the basis of state needs. After the government decision, Tunyan's family lost their home and land without receiving any compensation. 

"In 2005, the family appealed to the ECtHR, which in 2012, ruled that this family's right to protection of property was violated, since deprivation of property was not supported by law. In November 2013, the family appealed to the Court of Cassation, based on the ECtHR verdict. On May 8, 2014, the Court of Cassation overturned the 2005 expropriation verdict and sent the case back for re-examination. After a 10-year struggle, the case resumes from the starting point in a situation where all the legal norms on which the expropriation took place were found to contradict Armenia's Constitution and/or the decisions of the ECtHR," reads the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre statement. 

Commenting on the case, Tunyan's attorney, Vahe Grigoryan, said: "This is an exhibit case that reflects the injustice inflicted on thousands of families, former residents of downtown Yerevan, which resulted in people being deprived of their homes and lands illegally. At the same time, this is the first case in which the domestic courts' previous expropriation verdicts were overturned and the case was sent for a retrial."

Tunyan's family is seeking compensation in the amount of 36,000 EUR.

Recall, during Robert Kocharian's presidency, a decision was made to build Northern Avenue in the center of Yerevan, resulting in the forced expropriation of hundreds of people's homes and lands, mostly without paying compensation or providing negligible amounts, with which one could purchase apartments only in the outskirts of the capital.