Investigative Committee Suspended Criminal Case Instigated on Destruction of Cellar in Dalma Gardens

Investigative Committee Suspended Criminal Case Instigated on Destruction of Cellar in Dalma Gardens

EcoLur

The Investigative Division of Malatia-Sebastia Administrative District of Yerevan has suspended the criminal case on the destruction of a cellar in Dalma Gardens. The case was initiated on the basis of the complaint filed by Marie Chakryan, president of Center for Public Awareness and Monitoring, which says “Park Group” LLC in Dalma Gardens damaged historic monuments while some people intimidated local residents trying to find out who beat the alarm signal.

VIC Investigator of Investigation Department Gevorgyan sent a letter N48/1004-20 to Marie Chakryan, President of Center for Public Awareness and Monitoring NGO, on the suspension of criminal case no. 16954419.

The letter specifically says:

By the initiative of “Park Group” LLC, “Environmental Impact Expertise Center” SNCO implemented assessment and issued opinion BP-01 dated on September 1, 2020, which says no red-listed species, animals, historical-cultural monuments or were found in the mentioned area.

On December 20, 2020, the Expert Committee of RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport discussed the issue of Dalma Gardens in Yerevan's Malatia-Sebastia administrative district and as a result it was given the status of a newly-found historical-cultural monument of republican significance.

During the preliminary investigation, Acting Director of Environmental Expertise Center SNCO Azganush Drnoyan was interrogated as a witness. An application for a preliminary assessment has been submitted to Environment Ministry by Park Group LLC. The expertise is carried out on the basis of a preliminary assessment application made in accordance with Article 16(4) of RA Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise, which considers all environmental components of the site, including monuments of nature and culture. Malatia-Sebastia Investigative Division informs that any employee of Park Group Company in this criminal case cannot be prosecuted on the basis of Article 264(1) of Criminal Code on the grounds of lack of corpus delicti, as none of its buildings were not included in the list of immovable monuments of history and culture and were not protected by the state.

The Investigative Committee's decision to suspend the criminal case continues the series of decisions justifying the illegal alienation of lands in the Dalma Gardens historical and cultural complex and the destruction of gardens.

It should be noted that Public Environmental Court has examined and tried the legislative violations related to the alienation of Dalma Gardens land areas, and on February 6, 2020, its verdict was sent to RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, RA Prosecutor Artur Davtyan and Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan.

The verdict specifically related to the destruction of the monuments states:

- Land users have attempted to obtain land rights(note by editor: Dalma Gardens) in court by virtue of Article 51(3) of RA Land Code and the statute of limitations for acquisition under Article 72. However, courts have rejected landowners' claims, arguing that Dalma Gardens are considered as a historical-cultural monument and are not subject to privatization (e.g. Judgement reached in civil case H.2-442-2001). 

- Dalma Gardens, as a monument of local significance, was incorporated in the list approved by General Department for Preservation and Use of Historical and Cultural Monuments under ASSR Ministers Council on 24.01.1990.

However, it was not included in the state list of immovable monuments of history and culture established in Yerevan as a part of a garden heritage or a natural monument approved by the resolution of the Government of the Republic of Armenia No 1616-N dated on 07.10.2004. The aim of non-inclusion was to alienate the land areas of Dalma Gardens.

The Dalma Gardens area, although it was a common use land (Article 60 of RA Land Code) and a monument of historical and cultural significance, was occupied by land users with whom contracts were signed, in 2001-2004 alienated or granted to new users part by part for various uses, without regard to priority right of real, factual land users to acquire those lands, again violating the rights and legitimate interests of land users.

According to Decree No. 1941-A of Government of the Republic of Armenia dated on 27.03.2003 on ‘Changes to Purposes and Borders of Lands Areas Under Protection of Dalma Gardens in Yerevan', the actual borders of Dalma Gardens were changed, reducing the size of the land, and the category of high-value agricultural, forest and historical-cultural land was changed, and these land areas were allocated for the site development to new people. This decision was reached in the violation of RA legislation and international norms (Aarhus Convention).

18:09 March 04, 2020


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