A1plus wins in European Court. Meltex Ltd and Mesrop Movsesyan v. Armenia

imageI just heard the best news for the Freedom of Speech in Armenia in the course of the past 7 years! A1plus has won the case against the RA Government in the European Court of Human Rights. Check out the text of the official judgment. Congratulations – A1plus.

The Armenian authorities will have to pay EUR 30,000 to A1plus – which is of course very little, but what is more important, is the precedent. Admittedly, the Armenian government has been loosing case after case in the European Court of Human Rights in the recent months. Here’s more from A1plus:

http://a1plus.am/en/?page=issue&iid=61705

http://a1plus.am/en/?page=issue&iid=61709

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15 thoughts on “A1plus wins in European Court. Meltex Ltd and Mesrop Movsesyan v. Armenia

  1. Nice decision. A1+ channel was the best one during the time of functioning. Operative,professional.Unbiased.
    Unfortunately,its incomparable to the a1plus.am existing nowadays.
    P.S.
    And what a procedure for receiving the money?

  2. The amount is ridiculous and even more so when you consider that a third of it reportedly goes to the lawyers. As to Tigran’s point, agreed, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it should never have been pulled off the air. Moreover, part of the reason for the decline in quality is that many of its best journalists had no choice but to find other jobs instead.

    Anyway, congratulations to A1 Plus, but how much of a victory is it? Will it be allowed back on the air, for example, That said, as part of CE recommendations for dialogue and encouraging trust between society and government or even civil society / media and government, a case could be made for using this judgment as reason for allowing it a frequency assuming its proposal is good enough (but without interference from govt).

  3. Unfortunately,I red all desicions of the court and it doesn’t seem that A1plus completelu won. Sorry to put it in Russian
    Для начала список юристов небесплатно пахавших на А1плюс. Впечатляет.Даже в Будапеште стольких людей не было.
    The applicant company and the second applicant (jointly, “the applicants”) were represented by Mr M. Muller, Mr T. Otty, Mr K. Yildiz, Ms A. Stock and Ms L. Claridge, lawyers of the Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP) based in London, Mr T. Ter-Yesayan and
    Ms N. Gasparyan, lawyers practising in Yerevan, and Mr A. Ghazaryan
    Тут вопрос такой-Кто за все это платил?
    Мелс требовал возмещения расходов

    The applicant company also claimed USD 11,959 (approx. EUR 9,250) and 10,736.48 pounds sterling (GBP) (approx. EUR 16,050) for the costs and expenses incurred before the Court. These claims comprised:
    (a) USD 9,775 for the fees of its two domestic representatives (42.5 and 51 hours at USD 50 and 150 per hour respectively);
    (b) USD 2,184 for translation costs;
    (c) GBP 9,112.48 for the fees of its four United Kingdom-based lawyers, including three KHRP lawyers and one barrister (totals of about 32 and
    28 hours respectively at GBP 150 per hour);
    (d) GBP 260 for administrative costs incurred by the KHRP; and
    (e) GBP 1,364.00 travel expenses incurred by two KHRP lawyers on their trip to Yerevan
    .Суд решил по данному вопросу следующее

    According to the Court’s case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and are reasonable as to quantum. In the present case, the Court notes at the outset that no invoice has been submitted to substantiate the translation costs!!!!. As regards the lawyers’ fees, it considers that not all the legal costs claimed were necessarily and reasonably incurred, including a trip to Yerevan by the KHRP lawyers and considerable duplication in the work carried out by the foreign and the domestic representatives, as set out in the relevant time sheets. Furthermore, a reduction must also be applied in view of the fact that part of the initial application was declared inadmissible. Making its own estimate based on the information available and deciding on an equitable basis, the Court awards the applicant company EUR 10,000 in respect of costs and expenses, to be paid in pounds sterling into its representatives’ bank account in the United Kingdom.
    Здесь потеря в 15 300 евро.
    Далее Мелс и Ко требовали 50 000 долларов как моральную компенсацию

    The applicant company also claimed USD 50,000 (approx. EUR 38,670) in respect of non-pecuniary damage. In particular, the NTRC’s continued denial of a broadcasting licence and refusal to provide a reasoned decision had had a negative effect on its reputation and image. Furthermore, the applicant company’s employees and its chairman had suffered severe anxiety, frustration, stress, inconvenience and uncertainty as a result of the violation of the Convention and the failure of the domestic courts to address that violation.

    Суд решил возместить 20 000 евро. Еще 18 670 Евро коту под хвост

    The Court considers that the failure of the NTRC to apply the licensing criteria on each occasion in a manner compatible with Article 10, in particular its failure to give any reasons for its repeated denials of the applicant company’s bids, must have caused frustration and uncertainty to the company’s management team which cannot be compensated by a finding of a violation alone (see, mutatis mutandis, ibid., § 36; and Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP), cited above, § 57). The Court therefore, ruling on an equitable basis, awards the applicant company EUR 20,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

    Далее. Мелс и Ко требовали 1,050,137 Евро как потерянную прибыль.

    Суд им в этом отказал
    The Court considers that the claims for lost anticipated income are of a speculative nature…
    the Court rejects the applicant company’s claims for pecuniary damage.Суд не принял их доводы.

    The applicant company claimed a total of 1,357,828 United States dollars (USD) (approx. EUR 1,050,137) in respect of pecuniary damage. This amount included lost anticipated income from advertising and investors, the loss of unused equipment and lost contractual income regarding which the applicant company submitted that, after it had been permitted by the NTRC on 23 November 2001 to operate on band 37 for an indefinite period of time, it had entered into a number of contractual agreements which it had had to terminate following the withdrawal of its licence for band 37.

    Мелс и Ко удтверждали что суды и комиссия по распределению телечастот политически зависимы и ангажированы.

    Lastly, the applicant company complained that the NTRC’s decisions and those of the domestic courts had been politically motivated. It claimed that the NTRC was not an independent and impartial body since all its nine members were appointed by the President of Armenia
    Опять двойка

    As regards the court proceedings, having considered all the materials in its possession, the Court similarly finds that there is no evidence to substantiate the applicant company’s allegation that the domestic courts were influenced by political considerations when deciding on its applications
    Суд также не принял как обоснованные доводы о нарушении правил проведения тендера
    Единственное в чем суд согласился с А1плюсовцами
    . Declares the applicant company’s complaint concerning Article 10 of the Convention admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;

    Вообщем полностью ,”что и как” и кому интересно можете прочитать здесь.
    http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int////tkp197/viewhbkm.asp?action=open&table=F69A27FD8FB86142BF01C1166DEA398649&key=71044&sessionId=9362811&skin=hudoc-en&attachment=true

    Вопросы.
    Какую же блестящую победу одержал А1плюс? В чем она выражается? И стоила ли овчинка выделки? У меня появилось очень много вопросов? А у вас?

  4. Interesting that KHRP (Kurdish Human Rights Project) were the lawyers. I used to work for them when I was in London. Had heard they had been to Armenia, but thought it more in connection with Yezidis. Anyway.

  5. Actually, I think this makes it quite clear who won.

    Statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, on the judgment by the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Armenian television A1+

    Television is a very influential part of the media. Decisions of regulatory bodies on the award, refusal or withdrawal of a broadcasting licence can have a direct bearing on freedom of expression and therefore on the functioning of democracy. The decision of the European Court of Human Rights brings an end to the long drawn-out saga about the refusal of the Armenian authorities to award a broadcasting licence to the A1+ television station. The decision comes after numerous calls from different bodies of the Council of Europe have been ignored by the Armenian authorities. All member states of the Council of Europe are legally bound to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. They should do so without being reminded of their responsibilities by the European Court of Human Rights. The decision of the Court is a victory for freedom of expression. It should also serve as a lesson to all governments inclined to arbitrary interpretations of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees this essential freedom.

  6. Onnik JAN
    I red the court decision twice and,unfortunately for me,I could find there any point which will help A1+ to get back the channel. I can’t see there anything but moral satisfaction. From 30 000 Euros they have to pay 25 600 EUROs to lawyers.
    For BritPetrol Terry I stopped to consider him seriously after his stupid comparisons of Karabakh election with the gay parade.

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  8. Well, point taken about what this means for the station returning although I would suppose allowing it back might be considered something good to include as part of satisfying post-1 March CE demands.

  9. As Hamlet Ghuschyan would say, it was a “moral victory” ;-). It was important to recognize somewhere that the Parliament passed a law that violated the basic human right of freedom of speech, the president endorsed it, and the courts upheld its constitutionality. In other words, the entire state system failed its people. As Mesrop said today, the money itself is immaterial; what matters is they were vindicated somewhat as the ridiculousness and criminal arbitrariness of the whole process of awarding TV frequencies was revealed and affirmed by the ECHR court. What it will mean in practice remains to be seen.

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