In the Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia (application no. 13216/05) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:
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;
a continuing violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).
The case concerned the complaints by six Azerbaijani refugees that they were unable to return to their homes and property in the district of Lachin, in Azerbaijan, from where they had been forced to flee in 1992 during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
There are currently more than one thousand individual applications pending before the Court which were lodged by persons displaced during the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the applicants’ case, the Court confirmed that Armenia exercised effective control over Nagorno- Karabakh and the surrounding territories and thus had jurisdiction over the district of Lachin.
The Court considered that there was no justification for denying the applicants access to their property without providing them with compensation. The fact that peace negotiations were ongoing did not free the Government from their duty to take other measures. What was called for was a property claims mechanism which would be easily accessible to allow the applicants and others in their situation to have their property rights restored and to obtain compensation.
ECHR Press Release with the summary: Grand Chamber judgment Chiragov and Others v. Armenia – Azerbaijani refugees’ lack of access to property