On May 3 the Chamber for Civil and Commercial Cases of the RA Court of Cassation held the third session on the suit of HSBC-Armenia bank versus “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” newspapers (previously, at the sessions of April 5 and 19 the court gave the parties time to discuss the possibilities for reaching an agreement). As it has already been reported, “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” newspapers addressed the supreme judicial body of the country to challenge the decision of the RA Commercial Court of March 4, securing the suit of HSBC-Armenia bank and requiring the editions to refute the information disseminated on October 29, 2001 by “Noyan Tapan” news agency and published by them the next day (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 2-8, 2002). According to “Noyan Tapan” piece, Ruben Hakobian, the author of the non-licensed Armenian fonts “ArTarumian”, accused the bank of computer piracy and filed a suit against it (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 16-22, 2002, and February 9-15, 2002).
During the hearings of May 3, the agreement on dispute settlement was read out. The document was signed by HSBC-Armenia, “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” newspapers, as well as “Noyan Tapan” news agency, which participated in the process as a third entity on behalf of the respondents. According to the agreement, “Noyan Tapan” must disseminate, within three days, a refutation of the piece of October 29, 2001, to be published in the editions above.
The refutation by “Noyan Tapan” was placed in the closest issues of “Golos Armenii” (May 7, 2002) and “Yerkir” (May 10, 2002), and was accompanied by editorial comments. Thus, the comment of “Golos Armenii” noted that the newspaper from the very start offered HSBC-Armenia to direct its remarks to the author of the piece, “Noyan Tapan”, yet the bank, for unknown reason, preferred to start court litigation.
Hence, the parties to the conflict, fortunately, were able to reach a compromise. The Court of Cassation canceled the decision of the court of primary jurisdiction, which ran contrary not only to common sense, but also the existing legal and ethical norms. Nevertheless, this decision of the RA Commercial Court entered the history of Armenian jurisprudence as unprecedented in its absurdity.