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ECHR Starts Consideration of Ukraine v. Russia Case, Delivers First Judgement

European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered the first judgement in the case Ukraine v. Russia regarding the occupation of Crimea, declaring Kyiv’s allegations of human rights violations on the occupied peninsula admissible. Thus, the Court proceeded to consider the case on the merits, Minister of Justice of Ukraine Denys Malyuska announced on his Facebook page.

The Court will further consider the allegations of Russia’s improper investigation into the killings; the practice of unlawful deprivation of liberty and ill-treatment; harassment of non-Russian-language media outlets and restrictions on education in languages ​​other than Russian; intimidation and persecution of religious leaders; imposition of Russian citizenship; restrictions on the free movement of Crimean people to mainland Ukraine, etc.

At the same time, the judges rejected as unfounded Ukraine’s claim alleging that Russia established “administrative practice of murder/execution” in Crimea after the peninsula had been occupied.

It is also reported that the European Court of Human Rights found that Russia’s de facto control over the occupied Crimean peninsula began no later than 27 February 2014.

In addition, the ECHR declared illegal any judgements delivered in the courts of Crimea. The ECHR agreed with Ukraine’s allegations of “the existence of an administrative practice of extending Russian legislation to cover Crimea” and stated that “as of 27 February 2014, courts operating in Crimea cannot be considered to have been legally formed.”

“The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights is a powerful legal blow to the mythology used by Russia in the hybrid war. Crimea is a story of armed aggression and flagrant human rights violations, not a ‘referendum’ and ‘peaceful expression of will,’” Malyuska wrote.

At the same time, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba stated at a briefing in Kyiv that the ECHR’s judgment is an important step towards holding the Russian Federation liable for the aggression against Ukraine.

The minister stated that Ukraine is taking legal action against Russia not only in the European Court of Human Rights but also in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice.

“All of them will confirm step by step the truth that Ukraine has been telling the world since 2014, when the Russian aggression began, and will refute all the propaganda spread by Russia,” Kuleba stressed.

As a reminder, on 13 March 2014, the Government of Ukraine filed at the ECHR the first interstate application against the Russian Federation regarding the events that took place on the territory of Crimea.

The Government of Ukraine asserts that Russia has been exercising control over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is an integral part of Ukraine, since 27 February 2014.

In its application, Ukraine refers to violations of several articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Bohdan Marusyak

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