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The decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the case of Gurgen Margaryan is the victory of justice and a new ‘legal winning card’ for Armenia’s diplomats. This is what former judge of the European Court of Human Rights, judge of the Constitutional Court of Armenia Alvina Gyulumyan told Armenian News-NEWS.am. In 2013, she was Armenia’s representative before the ECHR when Gurgen Margaryan’s legal successors and the representatives of Armenian army officer Hayk Mukuchyan (who was subjected to an assassination attempt) had filed a complaint against Azerbaijan and Hungary.

“As Armenia’s representative before the ECHR, I couldn’t participate in the examination of the case, but I have always tracked the case and got very excited when I learned that my former colleagues had rendered this decision,” she said.

According to Alvina Gyulumyan, the fact that the ECHR held that there had been a violation by Azerbaijan of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights is a great achievement for Armenia.

This is the first decision by which an international tribunal states the discrimination of Azerbaijan against the Armenians.

According to Alvina Gyulumyan, what is especially interesting is the special opinion of Portuguese judge Paulo Albuquerque on the ECHR’s decision, stating the fact that the ECHR hadn’t recorded a violation with respect to Hungary. Albuquerque stated that Hungary was aware of the likelihood that Safarov would be granted a pardon, citing Prime Minister Viktor Oban, who was questioned about the Azerbaijani officer in a press conference shortly after his release.

Gyulumyan said even though the special opinion isn’t binding, such an opinion and the decision itself are favorable for Armenia.

The ECHR ruled that Azerbaijan violated the Convention by releasing an extradited officer who had murdered an Armenian soldier during training in Hungary.

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case the European Court of Human Rights held:

•           by six votes to one, that there had been no substantive violation by Azerbaijan of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights;

•           unanimously, that there had been a procedural violation by Azerbaijan of Article 2 of the Convention;

•           by six votes to one, that there had been no procedural violation by Hungary of Article 2;

•           by six votes to one, that there had been a violation by Azerbaijan of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 2, and

•           unanimously, that neither the Azerbaijani nor Hungarian Governments had failed to comply with Article 38 (obligation to furnish necessary facilities for the examination of the case).

This Chamber judgment is not final. During the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgment. If the referral request is refused, the Chamber judgment will become final on that day.

As reported earlier, Ramil Safarov, a lieutenant in the Azerbaijani military, was extradited on August 31, 2012, from Hungary, where he was serving a life sentence—and with no expression of either regret or remorse—for the premeditated axe murder of Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, in his sleep, during a NATO Partnership for Peace program in Budapest back in 2004.

As expected, Ramil Safarov’s return to Baku was welcomed, as was his act of murder, by the officials of president Ilham Aliyev’s government and much of Azerbaijani society, and the Azerbaijani president immediately granted him a pardon.

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