Friday, 4 June 2010

The Human Rights Advisory Panel Delivers Opinion in the Case of N.K.




On 4th June 2010, the Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP) delivered to Praxis its opinion regarding the case of N.K, whom Praxis represented before this body. At the same time, it is the first opinion of the Commission in one of Praxis cases.

In the final decision of the Housing and Property Claims Commission (HPCC), N.K. was granted right to compensation for lost ownership right over the apartment the client had purchased before 1999. The opposite party in the procedure, who is the current occupant of the apartment, was granted the tenancy right (first lost due to alleged discrimination), as well as the right to purchase the apartment. Pursuant to UNMIK Regulation 2000/60, the Housing and Property Directorate (HPD) should determine the amount that the tenancy right holder should pay, and which the HPD should then pay to the former owner of the apartment, in this case N.K. However, a formula for calculating the compensation amount has not been determined up to the present moment. Thus, N.K. has been living without the apartment for 11 years, i.e. without adequate compensation for the lost ownership right.

On behalf of N.K, in September 2007 Praxis submitted a complaint to the HRAP against violations of rights guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, i.e. right to a fair hearing (Article 6 of the Convention), right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 of the Convention), right to effective remedy (Article 13 of the Convention) and right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions (Article 1 of the Protocol 1 of the Convention).

HRAP found that there were violations of Article 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of the Protocol 1 of the Convention and recommended to the UNMIK the following:

  1. To urge the competent authorities in Kosovo to take all possible steps in order to ensure that administrative measures necessary for the execution of such HPCC decisions are adopted without delay (all decisions in which compensation had been granted, and which have not been executed yet);
  2. To award adequate compensation to the complainant N.K. for non-pecuniary damage;
  3. To take immediate and effective measures to implement the recommendations of the Panel and inform the complainant and the Panel about further developments in this case.

With regard to the opinion of HRAP, on 11 June 2010, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) gave its comments in relation to the case. SRSG stated that UNMIK would request the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), that had taken over from UNMIK the responsibilities in the area of justice in Kosovo, to liaise with relevant local Kosovo authorities in order to assure that all possible steps are taken to adopt administrative measures necessary for the execution of all HPCC decisions without delay. In relation to payment of compensation for non-pecuniary damage, the SRSG stated that the current UN General Assembly resolutions do not allow the UN Organization or its Missions to pay compensation other than for material damage or physical harm. UNMIK would, however, continue to address the issue with the UN Headquarters aiming at drawing attention of the General Assembly to the need for a review of its currently established rules for compensation. SRSG also stated that UNMIK would inform the complainant and the HRAP about further developments in this matter.

The case of N.K. is only one of numerous examples of inefficiency of institutions and mechanisms for protection of property rights of members of national minorities in Kosovo.




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