Press Release Regarding the ECHR judgment in the cause of the Alba Iulia Roman Catholic Archdiocese, sanctioning Romania for failing to return the property of the Roman Catholic Church

Wednesday - 26 September 2012
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On September 25, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in the cause Alba Iulia Roman Catholic Archdiocese v. Romania (application no. 3303/03) and sanctioned the Romanian state for the violation of Article 1, Additional Protocol 1 to the Convention (the right to property). The plaintiff was supported before the European Court by APADOR-CH, through collaborating councilors.

Alba Iulia Roman Catholic Archdiocese complained to the European Court that it was unable to s-a come in possession of the “ Batthyaneum” Library, of the Museum and Astronomic Institute of the Roman Catholic Episcopacy (sharing the same building in Alba Iulia), despite an Emergency Ordinance of the Government, no.13/1998, that restituted these properties to the Hungarian community. In practice, after 14 years of the government decision the restitution had not taken place yet, because the special commission, including members of the Government and of the community, never created finalized the restitution, as provided by the Ordinance. Moreover, the Court appreciated that the Commission was actually never created. Only in 2004 were the competences transferred to another commission, but this one also failed to finalize the procedure, and the plaintiff had no possibility to complain abut the situation.

The judgment of the ECHR decided that Romanian authorities, under the control of the Ministers Committee of the Council of Europe , have the obligation to decide appropriate reparatory measures to put an end to the violation on the European Human Rights Convention.

For the moral prejudice of delaying by 14 years the procedure for restitution litigious property, the Court decided that the Romanian state should pay the plaintiff 15.000 euro, as moral damage.

The full text of the judgment is available at: www.echr.coe.int/echr/en/hudoc/

For further detail: Diana-Olivia Hatneanu – executive director of APADOR-CH, mobile: 0733.078.718