Twenty-five years after being displaced during the Karabakh war and twelve years after first appealing to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) several Azerbaijani and Armenian families have been awarded €5,000 ($5,877.60 at current rate) each to be paid by the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively. In mirror decisions issued on December 12, the governments were also told by ECHR to cover some of the legal expenses involved, amounting to about six times the compensation sum.
Two years before the monetary awards were made, ECHR ruled that the families faced “continuing violations of Article 8 (right to respect for home and private and family life) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of
the European Convention on Human Rights and of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the Convention.” The Azerbaijani displaced were from the Lachin district captured by Karabakh Armenian forces in May 1992, and the Armenian displaced were from the Shahumyan district held by Azerbaijan since June 1992.
The court concluded that “whereas the events that had led the applicants to flee their property and homes” occurred before Armenia and Azerbaijan ratified the European convention, the two countries “had been responsible for continuing violations of the applicants’ rights” since accepting ECHR jurisdiction. In all more than 1,000 applications have been made to ECHR with regard to property violations during the Karabakh conflict, about two-thirds of them against Armenia and the rest against Azerbaijan.
The court noted that “some fifteen years have passed since the ratification of the Convention by Armenia and Azerbaijan without a political solution of the conflict being in sight. The Court can only underline that it is the responsibility of the two States involved to find a solution on a political level.”