- This case concerns the article “They serve the interests of international homosexual lobbying: The blacklist of enemies of state and nation” and other similar articles, published by “Iravunk” newspaper on 17.05.2014, presenting a blacklist of a group of people, who are accused in “homoaddicted lobbying” and calls everyone to express zero tolerence towards them and to restrict their opportunities in every possible field of their activity.
- The reason of the article was the intervew given by the representatives of Armenia in the “Eurovision 2014” Inga and Anush Arshakyans, during which the lastones, exspressing their attitude towards minorities, particularly towards the transgender representative of Austria in the abovementioned competition Conchita Wurst, mentioned: “ like the mental patient causes repulsion, so does this phenomena.’’.
- The reason of such article was the fact that the applicants, during their interview on 16.05.2014, mentioned that the statements of Anush Arshakyan do not correspond to the Constitution, are illegal and inhuman, contain insult not only towards sexual minorities, but also towards people who have mental problems.
- Applicants sent a written request to the president of the editorial board of the Newspaper, Hayk Babukhanyan, and the editor-in-chief Hovhannes Galajyan, to retract the information written in the Article as the Applicants asserted, it contained discriminatory, intolerant and hateful speech. The request was followed by another article in the newspaper, titled “And they still dare to request a refutation?”.
- Other articles have been published concerning people involved in the ”blacklist”.
- On 16.06.2014, 16 out of 60 citizens mentioned in the article (including the Applicants) initiated a joint lawsuit against “Iravunk Media” LLC and the editor-in-chief Hovhannes Galajyan demanding the Respondents to issue a public apology on their website, and to pay compensation of 5 (five) million AMD in favor of the Applicants for damage to honor and dignity.
- While the case has been processing, publication of articles containing insult and hate speech has been continued. Only a week before the Court decision would be announced, the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan awarded Hayk Babukhanyan, the president of the editorial board of Iravunk, a Medal of Movses Khorenatsi for his great personal contribution to the success of the newspaper. Two staff members of the newspaper, including Hovhannes Galajyan were awarded the Medal of Gratitude. RA National Assembly President Galust Sahakyan awarded Hayk Babukhanyan RA National Assembly Medal of Honor and awarded Hovhannes Galajyan and three staff members of the newspaper with RA National Assembly certificates.
- Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts rejected the Applicants’ claim entirely.
- On 11.2014 the Applicants filed an appeal to the Civil Court of Appeal. During the proceeding against the Appeal court, harassments by the newspaper continued, connected not only with their work but also with personal activities of newspaper staff.
- The Civil Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia rejected the claim of the Applicants entirely, leaving the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Kentron and Nork-Marash Districts of unchanged.
- The Applicants submitted a cassation appeal to the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Armenia requesting to overturn the decision of Civil Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia.
- On 04.2015 the Court of Cassation of the RA made a decision to reject to review the cassation appeal filed by the Applicants.
- Application to the European court of human rights has been submitted.
Strategic meaning of the case.
By submitting claims, applications to the national courts of the RA then to the European court of human rights, PINK Armenia aims to raise the problem of incompleteness and lack of legal regulations, other problems existing in practice and tries to find solutions by standpoints of international courts as well as to raise the public awareness.
The goal of strategic litigations is not only the protection of individual interests, but also is the recovery of social justice and creation of a safe environment for groups of society who have or may have similar problems.
As a result of judicial precedents it will be possible to have changes not only in legal, but also in social and political fields.
The strategic meaning of the case Minasyan and others v Armenia is the fact that Armenian legislation does not regulate issues regarding discrimination and hate speech as its agravating circumstence, which has not been subject of examination against the court. Furthermore, it is important that majority of the applicants are human rights defenders in Armenia, including LGBT activists undertaking exceptional activities, who are more vulnerable and therefore should be under special protection, which has not been taken into consideration by the national courts.
So, because of the lack of effective legal remedies, the offenders were able to overcome the nature of their offence and withhold from an appropriate civil or criminal responsibility.
Legal bases of the application presented to the European court of human rights.
By the application submitted to the European court on human rights, the applicants litigate violation of the following fundamental rights and freedoms recognized by the European convention of human rights: Prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (article 3), right to a fair trial (article 6), right to respect of private life (article 8), prohibition of discrimination in conjunction with right of access to justice (Article 14 in conjunction with article 13), prohibition of abuse of rights (article 17), particularly inhuman and degrading treatment toward the applicants, interference of their private life on the ground of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, their association with LGBT people as well as lack of effective legal protection mechanisms.
The standpoint of the European court of human right will be added.