“Minasyan and Others against Armenia”: Developments and Assessments to ECHR Case
European court of human rights communicated the case “Minasyan and others against Armenia” concerning the article “They serve interests of international transsexual lobby: the black list of nation and state enemies” published by “Iravunk” daily in 2014.

The case is investigated on violation of articles 8 (the right to respect personal and family life), 14 (segregation prohibition) and 17 (prohibition of right abuse) and with the latter being applied against Armenia for the first time.

Nvard Piliposyan, lawyer said that the article includes hate speech while touching upon/dwell upon the above mentioned article of “Iravunk” at Media center press conference on March 15.    

‘’It was provocation of discrimination/segregation, appeal to exercise zero tolerance toward these people, not to greet them, to fire from jobs, not to hire for work, etc.”, said Piliposyan.   

Following the publication of the article the majority of petitioners (sixteen out of sixty listed person) decided to submit/bring a case to the court.

Anna Sahnazaryan, case victim, who also attended the press conference, said.

“They targeted and published many articles about different people from the “black list”. We deal with intentional persecution. Those were calls for violence, which were disseminated on social network and multiplied the level of hate and violence. People, who read the article, added comments on what kind of violence to use”.         

According to Nvard Philiposyan, there is no regulation and mechanisms related to discrimination and hate speech cases in Armenia. That’s why they decided to take the case to court on hate speech and segregation basis.

“The domestic court absolutely didn’t address our suit concerning discrimination and hate speech. But concerning offence suit, the court rejected on the ground that it is protected by freedom of speech and journalists have the right to make such calls, because it is within the framework of freedom of speech”, said Nvard Piliposyan.     

The lawyer added that the court of Appeal also held to the same position, but the court of Last Resolution didn’t proceed with the case. After all, they decided to take it to ECHR.  

՛՛Our suit was based on several articles, including those, which were not communicated: violation of the 3th article (inhuman treatment, the right to a fair trial). The court has also communicated the case concerning the other 3 articles and sent questions to the state”, said Philiposyan.  

Article 8 concerns personal life. According to Philiposyan, respect toward personal life of petitioner was also violated, because it was interference in personal life. Insulting statements  were also made about them.

“The basis of discrimination was laid, as persons were associated with LGBT community because of expression of their political views. All those who express their political views, were listed and segregation calls were made toward them”, added Philiposyan.

Hasmik Petrosyan, lawyer refers to article 17, which concerns abuse of rights. She said that the position of the ECHR to towards this article is very important not only for Armenia, but also for all countries of the European Council. 

“Article 17 has not been commonly exercised, unlike the other articles in the European Convention of Human rights. The article essentially means that any right envisaged by the Convention should not be abused. It has not to be interpreted in such a way to abolish or eliminate other fundamental rights”, said Petrosyan.

According to Anna Shahnazaryan the issue was seemingly closed, but the calls are still there.

“It is the public attitude, that is irresponsible and violates rights. They are reproduced by institutions, some groups, companies, media organizations and individuals. Indeed, in this situation examining the case in the ECHR can also have educational role. 

Hasmik Petrosyan added, that Armenia has international recommendations concerning human rights.

“In one specific sphere, existing resolution against Armenia concerns violations of human rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity will force the state to take measures particularly for LGBTQ rights protection and exclusion of segregation”.    

Pink Armenia as an NGO, concerned with LGBT people’s interest protection, publishes “LGBT human rights in Armenia” annual report. Dozens of human right violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are recorded in the report. Besides domestic reports and publications, different international structures also refer to this issue sending their proposals to Armenia for eliminating segregation cases.

The bill on “Equal rights” has already been introduced by the Ministry of Justice. According to Hasmik Petrosyan, the bill doesn’t take into account the existing situation.

“Particularly these groups of society, whose rights are violated more often, are left out of the law protection scope”, said Petrosyan.

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