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Armenia: Judges’ ruling on ‘enriched uranium smuggling’ human rights complaint

Human rights judges have declared that proceedings before the Armenian courts concerning the smuggling of enriched uranium were not fair because key witnesses were never heard.

In today’s Chamber judgment  in the case of Dadayan v. Armenia (application no. 14078/12) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d) (right to a fair trial and right to obtain attendance

and

examination of witnesses) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As Just satisfaction, the European court held that Armenia was to pay Dadayan 2,400 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,000 in respect of costs and expenses.

The case concerned criminal proceedings brought against an Armenian national, Garik Dadayan, for aiding and abetting the smuggling of enriched uranium into Georgia. The two smugglers were prosecuted and convicted in Georgia, while Dadayan was prosecuted and convicted in Armenia, essentially on the basis of the smugglers’ witness statements to the Georgian authorities.

The court found in particular that Dadayan’s defence rights had been substantially affected because the Armenian trial court had never heard the smugglers in person. The Georgian authorities had refused their transfer to Armenia pending the criminal proceedings against them in Georgia.

This was despite the fact that those witness statements had been the sole basis on which the courts could decide whether or not Mr Dadayan had been involved in selling the radioactive substance.

 

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