26 Dec 2019 11:46

It may take ECHR over 1 year to hear Ukraine's lawsuits against Russia regarding Crimea - judge

MOSCOW. Dec 26 (Interfax) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will do its best to avoid accusations of politicizing consideration of Ukrainian lawsuits against Russia regarding events in Crimea in 2014, Russian ECHR judge Dmitry Dedov said in an interview with Interfax.

"I have no doubt that the court will do everything it can to avoid accusations of politicization, although this is an extremely difficult thing to do, just as in any other case heard by the court concerning the consequences of armed conflict," Dedov said.

Proceedings in the ECHR Grand Chamber, which regularly hears cases within a year, may take longer than usual, he said.

"However, the court tries not to hurry in such cases, but to present a balanced and ideally motivated judgement," Dedov said.

The ECHR is now hearing five Ukrainian lawsuits against Russia, namely Ukraine v. Russia (Crimea) regarding violation of human rights in Crimea during its unification with Russia, Ukraine v. Russia (Donbas) regarding violation of human rights in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the case of abduction of orphans and disabled children and their relocation to Russia, the case concerning violation of the rights of Ukrainian inmates by Russia, as well as the case concerning the detention of Ukrainian sailors.

According to a press release by the ECHR, Ukraine filed its first lawsuit against Russia on March 13, 2014.

The court later divided the lawsuits into two groups in order to achieve better efficiency of proceedings. Lawsuits related to Crimea were separated from lawsuits regarding events in eastern Ukraine and Donbas.

The court chamber, which was the first to take up the case, handed it over to the ECHR Grand Chamber on May 7, 2018.

Russia denies the accusations made by Ukraine.

Crimea, which remained an autonomous republic within independent Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union, became a part of Russia in March 2014 following a regional referendum. Ukraine refused to recognize the results of the referendum and dubbed the peninsula temporarily occupied territory. EU countries and the United States said Russia had committed an act of annexation and imposed sanctions on a number of Russian companies, politicians, and businessmen. Russia said, in turn, that the question of Crimea had been solved once and for all and affirmed that Crimea belonged to Russia.