Душанбе Грейс Сонмин - 두샨베은혜선민교회 - Dushanbe Grace Sunmin Churсh

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Grace Sunmin Mission Center Property and Trial History Timeline

The following is a timeline of events related to the site that would eventually become the property of Grace Sunmin Mission Center, and the ensuing court trials.

All of the information was derived from the text of the linked English translations of the official court decisions.

3 Nov 1987   The site is commissioned to be designed and built as a secondary school by the government of Dushanbe.
1989   Design and construction of the site began.
1993   Due to lack of funds, construction was halted after a total investment of 25,988,800 rubles.
10 Aug 1996   Due to lack of possibility of continuing construction of the site, privatization of the site was authorized according to Department of General Construction letter #8.
24 Mar 1997   The site was placed on a list of properties approved for auction by the decision #53 of the Chairman of Dushanbe.
2 Jul 1997   Date of contract to sell the property to Grace Sunmin Mission Center for 18,192,200 rubles.
25 Jul 1997   Date of official right of acquisition of state owned property authorizing the sale of the site to Grace Sunmin Mission Center for 18,192,200 rubles.
21 Jun 1998   License of right of ownership of the property issued to Grace Sunmin Mission Center (batch #11 HMD #3501470).
1999   Grace Sunmin Mission Center begins reconstruction and renovations of the site, investing a great deal of funds and labor into the project.

Link: Grace Sunmin Mission Center construction photo gallery


25 May 2004   The Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe argues in the Economic Court of Tajikistan that the contract of purchase dated 02 Jul 1997 is illegitimate and should be annulled on the basis that:
  • The price of 18,192,200 rubles is lower than an estimate from July 1997 of 25,988,800 rubles. Tajik law states that the price may be discounted by 30% only if the object is purchased by a labor collective, and that Grace Sunmin Mission Center is not recognized as a labor collective.
  • In a letter #25 dated 02 Sep 1996, Grace Sunmin Mission Center indicated an intention to open a boarding school at the site but thus far has not done so, violating the terms of the contract.

The Economic Court of Tajikistan ruled in favor of Grace Sunmin Mission Center, finding that:

  • The sale was done correctly and in accordance with the laws applicable at the time.
  • The commission which set the price at 18,192,200 was taking into account the site's condition and market prices and did not in fact give a 30% discount so the argument based on labor collective status does not apply.
  • Although Grace Sunmin Mission Center letter #25 indicates the intention of opening a boarding school, the actual contract of purchase does not include any such stipulations.
  • The contract cannot simply be annulled as US$436,633 was spent on renovation and reconstruction of the site, making the net cost at the time US$461,949 with a market value of US$2,000,000.
  • According to Tajikistani law, if a reason to invalidate a contract is found, a complaint may only be issued within three years, however the plaintiff missed this limitation without due cause.

Link: English translation of complete text of the decision


6 Jun 2007   Decision #372 of Chairman of Dushanbe removes the property from the list of sites offered for sale by Chairman of Dushanbe decision #53, ten years after the site was originally offered for sale.
11 Dec 2007   The Administration of Education of Dushanbe with the Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe as a third party argue in the Economic Court of Tajikistan that the contract of sale should be annulled.

The case is dismissed on the basis that:

  • The site was municipal property and thus had belonged to the Executive Body of State power of Dushanbe.
  • The Administration of Education cannot be a proper plaintiff in this case as it did not satisfactorily prove that it had a claim on the property as it was never an asset of the Administration of Education. Management of municipal property falls under the authority of the Chairman of Dushanbe and funds from the sale of municipal property goes to the budget of Dushanbe.
  • The Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe is the party that has true claim over economic disputes as the Administration of Education is an operational unit of the Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe and does not have any other source of funds.
  • According to Tajikistani law, the Economic court stops proceedings if there is a previous decision between the same parties for the same object using the same arguments.
  • The exclusion of the property from the original list of properties offered for sale by Dushanbe Chairman decision #372 occurred 10 years after the original sale of the property.

Link: English translation of the complete text of the decision


4 Feb 2008   Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe with Administration of Education as a third party appeals to the Supreme Economic Court of Tajikistan to overturn the 11 Dec 2007 Economic Court decision on the basis that:
  • That the case was not indeed the same parties with the same subject matter with the same foundation as the 2004 case. The Administration of Education is a valid plaintiff as the lack of a secondary school in the area violated the rights of students, and thus violated the rights of the Administration of Education.
  • The removal of the disputed property from the original 1997 list of sites for sale by Dushanbe Chairman decision #372 in 2007 represented a change in circumstances.

The Supreme Economic Court ruled in favor of Grace Sunmin Mission Center, deciding to uphold the ruling of the Economic Court in 2004 and to not allow the Administration of Education to be party to this claim, finding that:

  • Dushanbe Chairman decision #53 in 1997 put the disputed property on the list of sites authorized for sale. Decision #372 in 2007 removing the property from the list of sites authorized for sale occurred 10 years after the original sale.
  • The site was considered municipal property of the Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe and the Administration of Education had not satisfactorily proven it was the owner of the disputed property.
  • The arguments of the plaintiff are not materially different from the original claim considered by the Economic Court in 2004, making this a case between the same parties over the same object using the same foundation.

Link: English translation of the complete text of the decision


29 Jul 2008   The Presidium of the Supreme Economic Court of Tajikistan decides to nullify the December 2007 decision of the Economic Court and the February 2008 decision of the Supreme Economic Court and to have the case reconsidered by the Supreme Economic Court.

Link: English translation of the complete text of the decision


29 Aug 2008   The Administration of Education asks the Supreme Economic Court to annul the original contract and have the property returned for the original sum paid on the basis that:
  • The Administration of Education claims that it only realized its rights were violated in March 2007.
  • The disputed property should have been passed on to the Administration of Education upon construction and that the property was instead sold to Grace Sunmin Mission Center without the permission of the Government of Dushanbe, as the number of students in Dushanbe has grown significantly and there is not enough school space for them.
  • Grace Sunmin Mission Center was obliged to build the site as a school but instead uses it for other purposes.

The Executive Body of State Power of Dushanbe also argued that:

  • That a new law "On privatization of state property" came into effect 14 Jun 1997, nullifying the old law "On denationalization and privatization of property of Tajik SSR" under which the contract was drawn up and that the contract violates the new law.
  • The disputed property was indeed an asset of the Administration of Education, and despite acknowledging that construction was not completed, the contract violates public and social interest.

Representatives of the Mission Center requested the presence of representatives of the U.S. Embassy and OSCE as international observers as allowed under the principle of publicity. This request was denied by the court and the defendants left the courtroom in protest.

In the absence of the defendants, the court ruled against Grace Sunmin Mission Center noting that the period of limitation begins from the moment an entity finds out about a violation of its rights. The court decided that the property should be returned to the government of Dushanbe in exchange for the original purchase price of 18,192,200 rubles*, disregarding the significant construction work done by Grace Sunmin Mission Center.

Link: English translation of the complete text of the decision
Link: Grace Sunmin Mission Center construction photo gallery

* This is now an ambiguous amount as the Tajikistani ruble was replaced by the somoni as the national currency in October 2000.


16 Oct 2008   Grace Sunmin Mission Center asks the Supreme Economic Court to retract the August 2008 decision on the basis that:
  • The judge violated Tajikistani law on publicity of economic court proceedings by not allowing the presence of international observers.
  • When decision #53 of the Chairman of Dushanbe was made in March 1997, the new law "On privatization of state property" was not yet in effect and that the appendix to the law was not adopted until December 1998.
  • The dispute was already resolved based on the May 2004 decision of the Economic Court.

The court ruled against Grace Sunmin Mission Center, stating that the Mission Center was obliged to construct the property as a school and failure to do so has brought harm to the residents of the area.

The court decided to uphold the previous ruling that the property should be returned to the city of Dushanbe in exchange for the original purchase price of 181,992,000 rubles*, again disregarding the significant investment in construction costs incurred by Grace Sunmin Mission Center.

Link: English translation of the complete text of the decision
Link: Grace Sunmin Mission Center construction photo gallery


2 Dec 2008   Grace Sunmin Mission Center loses the final appeal. The original sale of the property is declared a mistake and Grace Sunmin must return the property to the government of Dushanbe. Preparations to vacate the premesis are now being made.



For more information contact: contact-en@dushanbegrace.org

See also these articles published by Forum 18:
1 September 2008: TAJIKISTAN: Confiscation and destruction of religious property with "undue cause"?
8 October 2008: TAJIKISTAN: Four religious communities reject government claims to OSCE

This page last updated 19 December 2008.