Top Euro rights court fines Turkey for breach of right to fair hearing of islander
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a Turkish national’s right to a fair hearing was “violated” over a case concerning the reassignment of a property from the applicant to the government.
The case concerned the reassignment of Agathi Teodora Dimopulos’ property, which she had inherited on the island of Gökçeada, to the Treasury. The applicant’s land, classified as a “natural site,” was reassigned to the Turkish Treasury in 1997 following the execution of a land-use plan.
Dimopulos brought proceedings seeking the annulment of the property deed in the Treasury’s name and the assignment of the land to her, but a law put into execution on July 27, 2004 said that the land classified as a “natural site” could not be acquired by way of adverse possession.
In a judgment of Oct. 27, 2004, a domestic court dismissed Dimopulos’ request, finding that it was not necessary to examine the conditions of adverse possession, on grounds that it was no longer possible to acquire a natural or cultural site by adverse possession since the July 2004 legislative reform.
Relying on Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Dimopulos later applied to the European court, saying that the retroactive application of a legislative amendment to her case had constituted a breach of her right to a fair hearing.
In a ruling handed down on April 2, the top European rights court fined Turkey 6,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages and 3,000 euros in costs and expenses for breaching Dimopulos’ right to a fair hearing.