Comment by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine On the Ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in favor of Ukraine
14 January 2021 19:01

Today, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on the admissibility of an interstate claims in Ukraine's case against the Russian Federation № 20958/14 (concerning Crimea).

The case concerns human rights violations in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol since 27 February 2014, when the Russian Federation established effective control over this territory. Ukraine’s claims cover the systematic violations of human rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols, including the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, the right to respect for private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, private property rights, etc.

Following the exchange of a number of arguments by the parties and an oral hearing held on 11 September 2019, the court concluded that Ukraine's application was admissible.

The court rejected the Russian Federation's objection and recognized its jurisdiction to hear the case of Ukraine, as the events described in the application fall under the jurisdiction of the Government of the Russian Federation and must be examined on the merits.

The court thus reaffirmed its position on the application of the principle of effective control, repeatedly established in the cases of both individual applicants (Ilyashko and Others v. Moldova and Russia, Louise v. Turkey) and in interstate cases (Cyprus v. Turkey).

Now the European Court will proceed to considering the merits of the case and the Government of Ukraine will provide its position on the direct violations of human rights by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

The court also joined the Crimean case with another Ukrainian application filed in 2018. It concerns violations of the rights of 71 Ukrainian citizens who were illegally detained or continue to be detained in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and in the territory of the Russian Federation (persecution of Crimean Tatars, members of the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, persecution and imprisonment of Euromaidan activists, conviction of Ukrainian citizens for publications and comments on the Internet and others).

This case is one of numerous cases against the Russian Federation filed by Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights in connection with Russian aggression. Two of them (concerning eastern Ukraine and the abducted orphans) were joined in November last year by the European Court with the case of the Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russia concerning the downing of the MH-17 flight in July 2014.

Three other cases against the Russian Federation are supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine: they are bringing before the International Court of Justice Russia’s violations of the conventions for the suppression of the financing of terrorism and elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in Crimea. Arbitral tribunals are considering violations of the rights of Ukraine as a coastal state in the Black and Azov Seas and in the Kerch Strait, as well as illegal detention of 3 Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 members of their crews.

All these cases form a whole legal strategy to protect the interests of our state. We are convinced that Russia will not avoid responsibility for violations of human rights and fundamental norms and principles of international law.

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