Lyova Kobelyan, director of the Department of Ninotzminda Life Services Ltd., is in a tug of war with the Georgian courts. He claims that he is being discriminated just for being Armenian.
Kobelyan is a 44% shareholder in Ninotzminda Life Services. The other 56% is owned by the government. The company owns two stone production units (one of which is currently working) and an administrative building. He still hasn’t been able to register his private property rights for them.
The Georgian real estate cadastre has refused to register these assets since 2010.
Kobelyan claims that the cadastre agency is violating presidential decree 525 15.09.2007 and his company’s charter. This decree defines the process of reorganization and privatization registry for companies with partial state ownership.
Kobelyan says that there are 323 companies in Georgia that have been created due to reorganization. Ninotzminda Life Services was also formed through reorganization. All the other companies have long since completed the process of registering their property rights.
“Of the 323 companies, I am the only Armenian director. That’s the reason they haven’t registered me. This is nationality based discrimination,” said Kobelyan.
Kobelyan has, on numerous occasions, petitioned the Georgian public registry to register the stone production units and building as company property. The registry has demanded various documents, delayed the process, and, in the end, refused to register them. Kobelyan has filed all the necessary paperwork.
Last December, Kobelyan petitioned the regional court. His suit was thrown out given that the public registry refused to register the assets.
“There’s a judicial show going on at the Akhalkalak regional court. I, as the company president and shareholder, cannot defend the company’s ownership rights in court. The decree of the Georgian president isn’t being executed,” Kobelyan told Hetq.
He claims that the Akhalkalak court judge, with the backing of the higher courts, has it in for him.
“I have the following question. As the company president and 44% shareholder where must I go to defend the company’s interests? I would like to know if there is any justice to be had at the Akhalkalak regional court,” said Kobelyan.
Despite this setback, Kobelyan battles on. He has appealed the regional court’s decision.
Kobelyan has many years of experience ‘fighting it out’ with Georgian law enforcement.
Years ago, he exported basalt from the same stone production unit to Russia. This fact, coupled with his active public activities, wasn’t to the liking of the Georgians who started to complicate economic matters for him. After a seven year battle in the courts, Kobelyan was partially exonerated and partially fined.
Kobelyan took the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), filing a complaint regarding the long duration of the criminal case and its result. He demanded 1.1 million Euros in material damage.
The ECHR has documented that Georgia’s legal system unjustly violated the principle of examining the case within a reasonable timeframe. The ECHR has also obligated the Georgian government to pay Kobelyan 1,000 Euros in compensation.
Kobelyan says he’s the only person in Javakhk who has taken his case to the ECHR and won.
He says he just might take the stone production units registry case to the ECHR as well.