Wednesday, 26 September

Amicable agreement reached

Edik Baghdasaryan
Varduhi Zakaryan

Last November, Hetq reported that the Yerevan Mayor's Office had approved the results of the auction held on September 26, 2001 , and given 88-year-old Araksya Hairapetyan's garden to parliament member Harutiun Pambukyan. Araksya Hairapetyan had refused to vacate the land that she and her daughters, Rosa and Rima, had cultivated for thirteen years, turning the rocky land into a blooming garden.

After the article was published, Harutiun Pambukyan called Hetq, suggesting that we visit Araksya Hairapetyan together, to try to find a solution. The meeting lasted for two hours and produced no results. Araksya Hairapetyan and her daughters didn't even want to discuss the possibility of giving up their garden. In October 2003, Harutiun Pambukyan went to the court of first instance of the Achapnyak and Davidashen districts, asking that Araksya Hairapetyan be evicted from her land.

We remind you that on September 26, 2001 , Pambukyan spent 2,461,200 Drams (about $139,000) for 1,600 square meters of land near Halabyan Street , to build an apartment house. The territory included 1,300 square meters of land belonging to Araksya Hairapetyan, with the garden where she and her daughters had planted two hundred trees of twenty-one varieties, a small building, and a pool. The family had applied for ownership rights several times, to the district administration and to the Yerevan Mayor's Office, but they were turned down for various reasons, and the land was privatized.

In court on January 26, 2004 , Hairapetyan's lawyer, Garen Kamalyan, asked the judge to postpone the eviction hearing, since on January 23 rd Hairapetyan's daughter, Rosa, had formally requested that the results of the auction be invalidated. The judge refused to postpone the hearing. Garen Kamalyan quoted Clause 2 of Article 72 of the Land Code of Armenia, which states that individuals who have been openly and conscientiously using a land plot continuously for more than ten years without officially registering their rights have priority in privatizing the land in question. Clause 4 of Article 66 of the Code states that persons who have a priority right shall buy the land from the state. Article 67, which deals with auctions, states that land auctions shall not be held in the cases mentioned in Clause 4 of Article 66.

"The judge said that my lawyer failed to explain the articles in question to me properly, and that these articles should not be interpreted in this way," Rosa Hairapetyan says. Pambukyan's representative, Gagik Hairapetyan, presented the court with documents related to the purchase of the land, and judge E. Danielyan ruled in Pambukyan's favor. The judge added that if the request to invalidate the results of the auction for the land were allowed, this ruling would be nullified.

On February 20, 2004 , during proceedings on the validity of the auction in the same court of first instance of the Achapnyak and Davidashen districts, Judge Erna Hairyan called Amalia Poghosyan, Maria Grigoryan, and Samvel Grigoryan as witnesses. They all testified that the plot, once a garbage dump, had since then been tended by Araksya Hairapetyan and her daughters. After months of lengthy deliberations, the sides reached an agreement on April 6, 2004 , according to which Rosa Hairapetyan withdrew her request that the auction results be overturned, and that she be granted ownership rights to the land. She also promised to vacate the disputed land and not to present Pambukyan with any claims to it in the future.

In return, Harutiun Pambukyan promised to give to Rima Hairapetyan property rights to 1,000 square meters of land in the Achapnyak district of Yerevan to build a house, and to transport and install the metal shed located on the territory of the Institute of Physics .

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