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   Posted by Robert on 07/19/01 at 6:08 PM

Subject:   Re: O Uoorzycah (Rogow Appeal part 2)

Message Posted

In Reply to: O Uoorzycah posted by Robert Brytan on 07/15/01 at 5:45 AM:

Horno has a number of lawsuits pending. At the Administrative Court in
Cottbus a resident is fighting the compulsory acquisition of his woodland by
LAUBAG. And suits have also been filed by a number of residents at both the
State and the Federal Constitutional Court.

Since 1994, when suit was first filed with the Administrative Court in
Cottbus against the Mining Office's approval of LAUBAG's outline mining
plan, the Horno people have claimed violation of their property rights under
the Federal Constitution. The Administrative Courts - that have a notorious
reputation in Germany for their industry-friendly interpretation of federal
mining law - have consistently refused to acknowledge that the outline
mining plan impinges on the property rights of people threatened by the
operation of the respective mine. The courts have routinely adopted the
expedient view, that approval of the outline mining plan does nothing more
than confirm the proposed operation of the strip-mine within certain
geographic parameters - in the case of Horno, the running of the Jänschwalde
mine over the Horno Hill with the resultant destruction of Horno - and does
not entitle the mining company to destroy property in the path of the
proposed mine, for example private property in Horno. This attitude
circumvents the reality of the situation facing the people affected. The
argument is, that it is not the outline mining plan that embodies the
ultimate threat to private property - in Horno - but rather the subsequent
technical plans to be submitted by LAUBAG, each covering a two-year period.
Thus, it is only the LAUBAG technical plan for 2004/2005, detailing the
destruction of property in Horno, which would open the way for legal redress
against expropriation. Before then, the people of Horno have no way to
initiate legal proceedings against expropriation; the first step lies with

Yet in fact, LAUBAG's outline mining plan for Jänschwalde from 1992,
approved by the State Mining Office, foresees the destruction of Horno and
the resettlement of its inhabitants. Furthermore, this mining plan formed
the basis for all subsequent State Government plans and decisions -
including the Jänschwalde lignite plan and the "Horno Law" - concerning the
expulsion of the Horno people from their homes and village. Most important
of all, approval of the outline mining plan is the first major move in the
mining company's plan to cajole and demoralize people living in the path of
the strip-mine; it is the opening shot in a campaign of psychological
warfare, whose intention it is to drive people out of their homes and
villages. The resettlement of Horno is scheduled to be completed by the end
of 2002.

LAUBAG mining excavators, approaching from a southerly direction, are now
only 1,500 metres from Horno village. The Horno Hill is being dug up from
under the feet of the Horno people, land and woodland in the hands of Horno
families for centuries has been compulsory acquired, and LAUBAG is
systematically destroying the village environs in an all-out attempt to
force the Horno people into accepting resettlement (see also: "Undermining a
Community" by Maurice Frank, www.motherjones.com/news_wire/horno.html ). The
reasoning is quite simple: If the people of Horno succumb to the pressure
and accept resettlement, they will have to dispose of their property to
LAUBAG and rebuild their homes elsewhere. They will not be able to build
houses in Forst and at the same time retain ownership of their property in
Horno in order to fight against expropriation in the courts at a later date.
LAUBAG will have achieved its aims without the risk of losing expropriation
claims in the courts. Effectively, the Horno people are being robbed of
their constitutional property rights with the connivance of both the
government and the judiciary. This is the point that Horno has now put to
the State and Federal Constitution Courts.

Despite the fact that LAUBAG mining excavators are within sight and earshot
of Horno, the courageous villagers have not given up the fight. The
resistance against expulsion is still very strong. The sixty families, who
have decided to relocate to the town of Forst, should their effort to save
Horno ultimately fail, have appointed a renowned Berlin lawyer to protect
their interests and negotiate an "outline agreement for a possible
resettlement" with LAUBAG. The overwhelming majority of these sixty families
bluntly refuse, however, even when they have to move to Forst, to sell their
homes in Horno to LAUBAG, or to buy houses from LAUBAG in Forst. If it comes
to enforced resettlement, the people of Horno will accept nothing less than
a one-to-one, new-for-old exchange. And - for the first time in the
deplorable history of the destruction of villages for lignite mining in
Germany - a real new village will have to be built. But that stage has not
yet been reached. The fight goes on!


Michael Gromm

Rogow, March 2001


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