Judges say Romania breached Europe’s human rights code by failing to return to a Catholic group one of the country’s richest collections of ancient books seized under Communism.
In the 25 September Chamber judgment in the case of Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia v. Romania (application no. 33003/03), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights
The case concerned a Catholic religious community which wished to recuperate, under an emergency order enacted in 1998, ownership of assets confiscated by the Romanian authorities during the Communist period.
The court found that, almost 14 years after the beginning of the preliminary procedure provided for by the order, the applicant association had received no notification of a decision, thus leaving it in a state of uncertainty as to the fate of those assets.
The court noted that the cultural and historical importance of the property in question made this failure to act even more incomprehensible.
Just satisfaction (Article 41)
The court held that Romania was to pay the Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia 15,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and a total of EUR 10,000 in respect of costs and expenses.
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