REUTERS The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled to lift a moratorium on farmland sale as the ban on buying and selling of farmland violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECHR issued a relevant judgment in the Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura v. Ukraine case, the Ukrainian media outlet Europeiska Pravda wrote. The case concerned a complaint by two people about a state ban on the sale of agricultural land, which they said had violated their property rights as the owners of such plots. Read alsoLand prices in Ukraine may triple – World Bank The court noted that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine predominantly distributed agricultural land to people who had previously worked in collective farms, but imposed, supposedly temporarily, a ban on the sale of such land. "The Government had argued that the measure prevented the concentration of land in a few hands, stopped rural people becoming poorer and made sure land stayed in cultivation. However, the Court found that the State had not struck a fair balance between the general interests of the community and the applicants&#39; property rights," the court said in a statement. The Court noted that no other Council of Europe state had such a ban and referred to the inconsistency of Ukraine&#39;s approach to ending the moratorium. "It was also not clear why a less restrictive measure would not be effective in achieving the same goals," it said. The Court held that the government of Ukraine should take legislative measures to ensure the required fair balance for owners of farmland, although that did not mean Ukraine had to immediately introduce an unrestricted market for agricultural land. No monetary compensation was awarded to the applicants. "However, if the State showed unreasonable delay in passing the necessary measures, monetary awards might become warranted," the court added. Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are binding for the Council of Europe member states; this also applies to provisions that require a change in national legislation. At the same time, the ECHR does not have legal instruments for altering legislation. The national authorities must take the final decision. As UNIAN reported earlier, in December 2017, the moratorium on farmland sale in Ukraine was again extended until 2019. The moratorium has been effective in Ukraine since 2001.