ECHR obliges Moldova to pay €167,000 damages in case of Arzamazova

The Republic of Moldova was obliged to pay €167,000 damages to Elena Arzamazova after the woman complained to the European Court of Human Rights that she was abusively dispossessed of a building that she bought from the Pojareni local council, IPN reports.

The public association “Jurists for Human Rights” said Elena Arzamazova has Moldovan and Australian nationality and lives in Queensland, Australia. The case concerns the annulment of a contract by which the applicant in 2004 had bought a building from the local authorities allegedly outside the limitation period, on grounds not imputable to the applicant and without the payment of any compensation for the renovation of that building.

2007, the Prosecutor’s Office requested the new Pojăreni local council to annul the decision of 2004 and the contract between the village and the applicant as the value at which the building was sold was too low and the local council sold it without conducting an auction as required by law. In July 2007, the Pojăreni local council annulled its decision of 2004 and the Mayor’s decision of 2004 to conclude a contract of sale with the applicant.

The Prosecutor’s Office initiated a court action against the Pojăreni local council and the applicant, seeking the annulment of the contract of sale of April 2004. It did not seek the annulment of the land purchase contract. The applicant lodged a counterclaim, seeking the annulment of the decision of the Pojăreni local council of July 2007.

In November 2013, the Supreme Court of Justice upheld the prosecutor’s appeal on points of law, quashed the judgment of the Chişinău Court of Appeal and ordered a re-examination of the case by the Court of Appeal.

In December 2013, the Chişinău Court of Appeal upheld the prosecutor’s appeal and reversed the judgment of the Ialoveni District Court of December 2012. The court held that the building bought by the applicant from the Pojăreni local council was part of the public domain which could not be sold to a private individual. Therefore, the court considered that there was no time limit to challenge such a transaction.

The ECHR held that there has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention and that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final, €160,000 in respect of pecuniary damage; €5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage; €2,000 in respect of costs and expenses.

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