Thursday, June 01, 2006

Karelia


Taking his lead from procedures followed during the reunification of Germany and the restoration of Estonia's independence in the early 1990s, a Finnish lawyer has worked out plans to take legal action against Russia to restore property rights to Finns who lost land when parts of Karelia - the vast inhabited area of Northern Europe to the east and north of Helsinki - were ceded to the Soviet Union. A report in Helsingin Sanomat's international edition quotes the lawyer, Kari Silvennoinen, as saying that the Finns who owned property in these areas on September 4th, 1944, when Finland and the Soviet Union concluded a ceasefire, are still the legal owners:
"Previously it was thought that the Soviet legal system extinguished the right to property, but the situation is different, now that the Soviet Union has collapsed. This brings us to the fact that Russia is in violation of the protection of property because it prevents the real owners from using the property", Silvennoinen says.

He plans to gather a group of property owners and their descendants, and to submit a demand on their behalf to the Russian Federation. After that he hopes to issue a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

Silvennoinen said that getting just ten clients would be enough. He said that he would charge them "a few hundred euros".

"I am not doing this for the money", he says. Included in the demand is a parcel of land owned by his grandfather near Sortavala.
(via Marius)
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