The tactic has emerged in conversations with lawyers and hedge funds as it became clear that Greece was considering passing legislation to force all private bondholders to take losses, while exempting the European Central Bank, which is the largest institutional holder of Greek bonds with 50 billion euros or so.

Legal experts suggest that the investors may have a case because if Greece changes the terms of its bonds so that investors receive less than they are owed, that could be viewed as a property rights violation — and in Europe, property rights are human rights.

The bond restructuring is a critical element for Greece to receive its latest bailout from the international community. As part of that 130 billion euro ($165.5 billion) rescue, Greece is looking to cut its debt by 100 billion euros through 2014 by forcing its bankers to accept a 50 percent loss on new bonds that they receive in a debt exchange.

According to one senior government official involved in the negotiations, Greece will present an offer to creditors this week that includes an interest rate or coupon on new bonds received in exchange for the old bonds that is less than the 4 percent private creditors have been pushing for — and they will be forced to accept it whether they like it or not.

“This is crunch time for us. The time for niceties has expired,” said the person, who was not authorized to talk publicly. “These guys will have to accept everything.”

….“The private sector has come a long way. We hope that the other parties agree that it is more constructive to reach a voluntary agreement than the alternative.”

At the root of the dispute is a growing insistence on the part of Germany and the International Monetary Fund that as Greece’s economy continues to collapse, its debt — now about 140 percent of its gross domestic product — needs to be reduced as rapidly as possible.

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PS I wonder when Greek citizens will open a case at the European Court of Human Rights for being forced to unemployment and to pay the last cent out of their pockets, being deprived of dignity, being unable to cover basic needs, Not to forget to mention a clause for the immense psychological distress of the last two years…