YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The Armenian government will pay an elderly resident of Yerevan 1.6 million euros ($1.8 million) in compensation ordered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a senior official said on Friday, August 23.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan, Armenia’s representative to the ECHR, said the government at the same time hopes that the massive payment resulting from a property dispute can be made in several installments.
The ECHR set the amount of “just satisfaction” for the 83-year-old Yuri Vartanyan last month nearly three years after ruling that Armenian authorities violated his rights to property ownership and a fair hearing in court.
Vartanyan and his family used to own a house and a plot of land in an old district in the center of Yerevan which was slated for demolition in the early 2000s as part of redevelopment projects initiated by then President Robert Kocharyan. A real estate agency authorized by the state estimated the market value of the 1,400 square-meter property at more than $700,000 in May 2005.
A few months later, Yerevan’s municipal administration and, Vizkon, a private developer cooperating with it, challenged Vartanyan’s land ownership rights in court. The claim was accepted by a district court but rejected by Armenia’s Court of Appeals.
According to ECHR documents, the municipality and Vizkon expressed readiness to settle the case when it reached the higher Court of Cassation in 2006. They offered to give Vartanyan $390,000 in cash as well as a 160-square-meter apartment and 40-square-meter office premises in the city center.