ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/128/D/2682/2015

Communication

2682/2015

Submission: 2013.03.27

View Adopted: 2020.03.13

P.E.E.P v. Estonia

Claim of property seizure by the Soviet authorities not within the bounds of the Covenant, Committee declares the communication as inadmissible

Substantive Issues
  • Fair trial
  • Non-discrimination
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 26
Full Text

Facts

The author of the communication is a national of Germany who claims that the State Party has violated his rights under article 2, article 14(1), and article 26 of the Covenant. 

The author is the son and one of the legal heirs of M.P who used to be the owner of a residential building in Tallinn. in 1941, the author's family resettled from Estonia to Germany and the properties were unlawfully nationalized by the Soviet authorities. In 1992, the author, together with his brother, successfully claimed restitution of their late father's property, which was returned to them. This order was followingly annulled citing that the author's father left Estonia on the basis of agreements between the Third Reich and the former Soviet Union. This decision was later reversed by the Tallinn City Committee as there was no evidence that the author's father had left Estonia on the basis of such an agreement. In 2010, an expert found that the father had received payments on the basis of the so-called Lastenausgleichgesetz. Considering that the relevant provisions of the Principles of Ownership Reform Act does not allow for restitution or compensation in respect of properties for which redress has already been provided, the author and the legal heir of his late brother again lost their property. The author appealed this decision on the basis that the compensation previously paid to the author's father did not constitute compensation within the meaning of the act. However, the Court of Appeal held that those who received compensation from the Federal Republic of Germany could not hold a legitimate expectation of obtaining additional redress in the country of location of the property concerned. 

In his complaint, the author submits that authorities should not have considered the payments received by his father to be compensation within the meaning of the act. This failure, according to the author, follows from an arbitrary and unfair interpretation of the relevant acts. He also claims that the decision of the State authorities to reject his claim follows from unfair proceedings before the Tallinn Administrative Court and discriminate against his on the grounds of his Baltic German origin. On this basis, the author claims that the State party has violated his right to a fair trial, and prohibition of discrimination, in breach of articles 2, 14(1), and 26 of the Covenant. The author additionally claimed that the length of domestic proceedings, initiated in 1991 and finished in 2011, was in breach of Article 14(1) of the Covenant. 

Admissibility

The Committee ascertained that the matter is not being examined under any other international procedure of investigation or settlement. The Committee first noted that the author's doubts about the effectiveness of domestic remedies do not absolve him from exhausting them and that the State Party had provided examples of cases in order to show that such remedies were indeed available and effective. The Committee, therefore, concluded that this part of the author's communication was inadmissible. Followingly, the Committee noted that the author's communication falls short in substantiating his rights under article 14(1) would be violated by the State Party and therefore found this part of the communication inadmissible. Finally, in terms of the residual discrimination claims, the Committee noted that the author failed to exhaust available domestic remedies - as he failed to bring his discrimination claims before any court for adjudication at the domestic level. 

The communication is therefore inadmissible.

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