The case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia concerns the complaints by Azerbaijani refugees whose homes have been taken. The applicants include Elkhan Chiragov, Adishirin Chiragov, Ramiz Gebrayilov, Akif Hasanof, Fekhreddin Pashayev and Qaraca Gabrayilov, all Azerbaijani nationals. The applicants stated that they have been unable to return to their homes in the district of Lachin since 1992. They claim that they were forced to flee in 1992 during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and that they were unable to regain their property since.
Conflict began in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in 1988. But in September 1991, after the establishment of the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” the conflict escalated into a full-scale war. Ethnic Armenian forces gained control over most of the territory of the former NKAO along with seven adjacent Azerbaijani regions by 1993. “The conflict resulted in hundreds of thousands of internally-displaced people and refugees on both sides. In May 1994 the parties to the conflict signed a cease-fire agreement, which holds to this day.” The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has been advocating for peaceful negotiations to resolve the problems cause by the displacement but no final political settlements have been reached.
The applicants are seeking to recover the loss of their properties in Lachin, as well as various other property including cars, livestock and items within the home. The applicants have not been compensated for their loss of property, no remedies have been available to them, and thus they rely on “Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) and Articles 8 (right to respect for home and private and family life), 13 (right to an effective remedy) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights” in their suit.
The first hearing held by the Grand Chamber in September of 2010, deemed the applicant’s claims admissible, The hearing set for today, January 22, 2014, will evaluate the case on the merits. Does this remind you of eminent domain? Do you think that applicants will be compensated for the property taken from them by the state?
It is troubling that these Azerbaijani refugees have not been compensated for their losses for over 20 years, especially since the cease-fire agreement occurred in 1994. Once a conflict is over, there are a lot of matters to deal with in the aftermath. It is amazing that these individuals have not been able to return to their property since 1992. The time spent away from their ethnic counterparts must be difficult for the applicants. I imagine that these homes they were displaced from were nearby other family members and possibly passed down from generation to generation. It is also interesting that they have brought an Article 14 argument alleging discrimination. I wonder if the other ethnic groups of the country who were displaced are in similar situations.
Hopefully the Grand Chamber can come to a favorable conclusion for these individuals, but the time that they have lost as being refugees for so long will almost never be ameliorated.
Property worth billions was taken from Armenians in Azerbaijan and if they want to be compensated the decision should be made to compensate Armenians of all their lost property in Azerbaijan and particularly in Baku.