On September 18 the Information Disputes Council rendered an expert conclusion on the case of Hayk Babukhanian, Chairman of the Editorial Council of “Iravunk” newspaper, and the newspaper’s founder, “Iravunk Media” LLC, versus founder of Report.am news portal, “Khmbagir” LLC, and the portal’s observer Edik Andreasian.
As it has been reported, the subject matter of the case was the September 1, 2010 piece of Report.am “The Right of ‘Iravunk’ on the Edge of Hayk Babukhanian’s Sword”. The plaintiffs demanded to publish a refutation and to exact from each respondent 3 million AMD (about $ 8,000) as moral damage compensation, caused by libel and insult. On February 27, 2012 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan revoked the suit, binding the plaintiffs to pay the state duty for filing the court of 236,000 AMD in proportion to financial claims. The court justified the declination of the suit by violation of Point 13 of Article 1087.1 of RA Civil Code (“Order and Conditions of Compensation of Damage to the Honor, Dignity or Business Reputation”) that sets a certain term for lodging a defamation suit. This ruling was appealed at the RA Civil Court of Appeal, which, on May 31, considered the complaint unjustified and bound the plaintiffs to pay the state duty for filing the Court of Appeal in the amount of 390,000 AMD. On July 25 RA Court of Cassation upheld the rulings of the lower court jurisdictions (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 3-6, 2012).
The conclusion of the Information Disputes Council notes that the rejection of the suit due to the missed term for civil action, as well as other analogous rulings on defamation cases are an evidence of a consistent practice being developed in Armenia: the courts provide uniform interpretation on this legislative requirement. Besides, the first and second court instances have bound “Iravunk” with compensating the state duty, which is proportionate to financial claims. IDC finds that such an approach in defamation cases may contribute to the decrease of legal complaints with unjustified and overestimated financial demands.
The full expert conclusion of the Information Disputes Council is available in Armenian and in English at http://www.ypc.am/expert/ln/eng.