22 Jul 2021 11:15

Russia lodges complaint against Ukraine with ECHR

MOSCOW. July 22 (Interfax) - Russia has lodged an interstate complaint against another state with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for the first time.

"The Russian Federation filed an interstate complaint against Ukraine with the European Court of Human Rights on the basis of Article 33 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said.

Russia's interstate complaint against Ukraine lodged with the ECHR deals with a whole number of violations, including the deaths of civilians, the suppression of freedom of speech and the water blockade of Crimea.

"The complaint centers on the following main groups of violations: the Ukrainian authorities' responsibility for deaths of the civilian population, the illegal deprivation of freedom and brutal treatment of people, including on Independence Square (Maidan) in Kyiv and in the House of Trade Unions in Odesa in 2014, as well as in Donbas during the so-called anti-terrorist operation, the practice of suppressing freedom of speech and persecuting alternative views through banning the operations of media outlets, Internet platforms, prosecuting journalists (from Russia, Ukraine and other states), politicians and ordinary citizens,  blocking the North Crimean Canal as the main source of fresh water for residents of the Crimean Peninsula," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office told reporters.

"The complaint contains a motion asking the ECHR to use injunctive measures in accordance with Rule 39 of the Regulation obligating Ukraine to urgently stop such glaring violations as the blocking of fresh water supply to Crimea, restriction of the rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities, including to unimpeded access to secondary and higher education in their native language," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office told reporters.

Russia is also asking to obligate Ukraine to lift the ban on the broadcasting of Russian-language television and radio channels and on the restriction of access to Internet sites and printed publications in Russian.

"Ukraine bears full responsibility for the deaths of the passengers and the crew of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 on the MH17 flight and for causing suffering to the victims' relatives because it committed a serious violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the Convention [on Human Rights] in the material and procedural aspects, of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) in the procedural aspect because of its failure to take measures to close its airspace," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said.     

Moreover, "the respondent state did not carry out an independent and effective investigation into the relevant officials' failure to close the airspace," it said.

"Ukraine has been providing fabricated evidence in order to shift the blame for that air crash onto Russia," the Prosecutor General's Office said.

This is the first interstate complaint of the Russian authorities with the ECHR in Russia's history.

"The complaint is called to draw attention of the European court and the whole international community to blatant and systematic violations of human rights by Ukrainian authorities, to record in the international legal field multiple instances of criminal acts, to make Ukrainian authorities stop making them, to properly investigate and to immediately bring those responsible to justice, and to restore peace and consent on Ukraine's territory," the Prosecutor General's Office said.

The majority of complaints are filed with the ECHR by individuals, groups of people, companies and NGOs, but states also have the right to file complaints. This is provided by Article 33 of the European Convention on Human Rights, also known as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which says "any High Contracting Party may refer to the Court any alleged breach of the provisions of the Convention and the Protocols thereto by another High Contracting Party."

Since the convention took effect in 1953, slightly less than 30 interstate complaints were lodged with the ECHR.

As of now, Georgia lodged four such complaints against Russia, while Ukraine filed nine.