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Moldova : Court backs former Gagauz president in pension plan human rights row

Human rights judges have ruled against Moldova following a human rights complaint brought by the former President of Gagauzia

On 3 July, the court held that the Republic of Moldova was to pay the applicant Stepan Topal 3,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, after accepting that the decision to annul retrospectively a local law by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia during civil proceedings was unjustified.

Topal, a Moldovan national, born in 1938, who lives in Comrat, (Republic of Moldova), was President of the Gagauz Republic (a region located in the south of the Republic of Moldova) between 1991 and 1995.

In its Chamber judgment  in the case of Topal v. the Republic of Moldova (application no. 12257/06) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned judicial proceedings relating to the pension entitlement of Topal. During the proceedings, the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia set aside the local law (no. 36-XIX/II) on which Topal was basing his claims.

The applicant’s case was dismissed by the domestic courts on the grounds that there was no longer any basis for it.

 

The court found that the retrospective setting aside of the local law had settled the substance of the

ongoing dispute with final effect, making it pointless to continue the proceedings.

 

In that connection, the court held that there had been no compelling grounds of general interest capable of justifying the setting aside of the law.

 

The intervention by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia during the proceedings had therefore not been justified for the purposes of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

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