ANOTHER STRATEGIC CASE OF NGNGO WAS COMMUNICATED BY THE ECHR. THE COURT PROPOSED A FRIENDLY SETTLEMENT THROUGH COMPENSATION
On March 9 2021 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) communicated the application of Arman Sahakyan and Others v. Armenia, lodged on 09 August 2016 by Ara Ghazaryan, the attorney of New Generation Humanitarian NGO. According to the Application violation of the Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms had occurred.
In view of the Court’s case-law and practice, the ECHR considered a friendly settlement of the case possible in case the parties admit the terms of settlement, and in particular, if the Government pays to the applicants to cover any and all pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.
The ECHR has not made a reference to the part related to discrimination as the domestic investigation of the case is still in progress.
On 17.05.2014 an article titled “They serve the interests of the international homo-addicted lobbying: the blacklist of the enemies of the nation and state” was published on www.iravunk.com news website. The author of the article was journalist Hovhannes Galajyan. The article contained insulting and defamatory information causing damage to the honor and dignity of Grigor Gevorgyan, Arman Sahakyan and Hovhannes Mkrtchyan.
Grigor Gevorgyan, Arman Sahakyan and Hovhannes Mkrtchyan “blacklisted” by the Iravunk website lodged a claim to the court against Hayk Babukhanyan, editor-in-chief of Iravunk Media LLC, and Hovhannes Galajyan with a demand to refute the article titled “They serve the interests of the international homo-addicted lobbying: the blacklist of the enemies of the nation and state” published on the iravunk.com news website and make a public apology, and to oblige compensation of the caused damage in the amount of AMD 3,000,000․00 to each plaintiff, to confirm the fact of discrimination and instigation of hatred manifested by Hovhannes Galajyan towards the plaintiffs, and to oblige publication of the confirmation of the fact of discrimination and instigation of hatred in the concluding part of the court ruling on the iravunk.com website.
By the decision of the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan city of the Republic of Armenia, made on 24.06.2014, the complaint was accepted for hearing․
By the decision of May 14 2015 the court partly granted the claim obliging the respondents to refute defamatory, insulting expressions of the article through a publication and publicly apologize to the plaintiffs. Also a compensation for the defamation in a considerable sum was established by the court in favor of the plaintiffs. The application on the part of discrimination (hate speech) was rejected on the basis of absence of a material-legal grounds in the Civil Code.
Hayk Babukhanyan submitted an appeal claim by which the Civil Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia made a decision on 26.05.2016 about quashing the decision of 14.05.2015 and the case was sent for new examination.
Ara Ghazaryan, the attorney of New Generation Humanitarian NGO lodged a complaint to the ECHR under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the decision of the Civil Court of Appeal dated 26 May 2016, which set aside the final judgment in their favour, was in breach of the principle of legal certainty.
On February 13 2020 the first instance court of Yerevan city made a decision by which the claim was partly granted. The plaintiff and respondent parties appealed the decision which was accepted for hearing on May 5, 2020.
The civil court of appeal made a decision of quashing the decision of the court of general jurisdiction of 13 February 2021 and the case was sent to the same court for new examination.
NGNGO will continue to make updates on the progress of the case.