The verdict of Public Environmental Front on Teghout Copper and Molybdenum mining project has been sent to RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and RA Chief Prosecutor Arthur Davtyan.
The trial of this case was held on 11 March: upon the application of Anna Shahnazaryan, a member of Armenian Environmental Front civic initiative, ex-member of Teghout Support Group civic initiative member who mentioned that in 2007 “Armenian Copper Program”, a part of “Vallex” Group Company (later “Teghout” CJSC) received the permit to eliminate the significant part of Lalvar forests and to implement Teghout copper and molybdenum mining project for 25 years
· not taking into consideration the disastrous consequences of the impact on the environment,
· violating the Armenian Constitution ratified conventions, as well as numerous international and domestic legal acts,
· not taking into consideration the public opinion in terms of privatization of the national wealth and its ruthless plunder.
· violating the property rights of the villagers, which resulted in extremely non-proportionate compensation, which, has been recognized as a violation of human rights by the European Court of Human Right as of 2018.
The victims were represented by Shnogh Community Aldermen's Council member Ashot Adamyan, Shnogh residents Levon Alikhanyan, Arayik Babayan and Teghout residential area resident Raya Melqonyan. Lori Regional Municipality representative Artak Demirtchyan represented the official position. Lena Manvelyan – President of 'Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment' NGO, Ani Khachatryan and Levon Galstyan – members of Armenian Environmental Front civic initiative, President of 'Association for Sustainable Human Development' NGO Karine Danielyan acted as witnesses.
EcoLur's expert Roza Julhakyan also presented his expert assessment.
Public Environmental Court composed of environmental lawyer Nazli Vardanyan, ethnographer and publicist Hranush Kharatyan, human rights defender Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, Director of 'Community Mobilization and Support Center' NGO Oleg Dulgaryan and President of 'EcoLur' Informational NGO Inga Zarafyan ruled:
“1. To recognize the offences committed in the process of issuing Teghout copper and molybdenum mining permits, which have led to an environmental disaster and socio-economic crises in the region as a crime directed against nature, humanity and state,
2. To recognize the Armenian Government, RA Nature Protection Ministry, RA Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, RA Agriculture Ministry, RA Ministry for Emergency States, RA Ministry for Territorial Administration and Development, RA Health Ministry, State Cadastre of Real Estate, State Revenue Committee, RA Lori Regional Head, RA judiciary, as well as “Armenian Copper Program”, “Teghout” CJSC, “Manes-Vallex” Company and VTB Bank responsible for the current situation,
3. To recognize liable those officials in governmental bodies and companies, who with their inaction, abuse of offices, abuse of authorities and negligent actions have promoted the violation of the regional ecosystem balance, soil and water pollution, elimination of forests and landscapes, violation of human rights and deterioration of socio-economic state.
4. To apply to RA Prosecutor’s Office:
- requesting to recover damage caused to the state and citizens because of the illegal permits issued by the officials for Teghout copper and molybdenum mining through initiating criminal cases.
5. To apply to the Armenian Government:
• To carry out comprehensive financial, documentation and technical audit in “Teghout” CJSC, “Armenian Copper Program” CJSC and “Vallex” Group Company and to publicise the findings.
• To detect the lawfulness of the financial transactions of all the bodies involved in the operations of Teghout copper and molybdenum mining.
• To recognize “Teghout” CJSC and all interrelated companies liable for the damage caused to the environment and to obligate them to recover the caused damage.
16:20 March 21, 2019