Ukraine v. Russia (re Eastern Ukraine) 8019/16

Ukraine vs Russia

The case “Ukraine v. Russia (re Eastern Ukraine)” No. 8019/16 concerns violations of human rights by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where the Russian occupation administrations of the so-called ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People's Republic’, as well as units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation operate.

The main objective of the Government of Ukraine

The main objective of the Government of Ukraine is to prove the fact of effective control of the Russian Federation over a part of the territory of Ukraine and protect violated human rights in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Status:

Public hearings in the case are expected to be held in 2020

Timeline

  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014

08 November

The Government of Ukraine submitted to the ECHR a written position for public hearing in the case “Ukraine v. Russia (re Eastern Ukraine)” No. 8019/16.

Ukraine's position is as follows:

  1. The RF shall be liable for human rights violations committed by the military units of the RF and ‘DPR’/‘LPR’ units controlled by it, as such violations fall under Russia's extra-territorial jurisdiction;
  2. The Russian Federation exercises effective control over the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions both directly and through its subordinate ‘DPR’/‘LPR’ from spring 2014 until now;
  3. ‘DPR’/‘LPR’ are completely dependent on Russia and exist only due to political, military and financial support, including:
    • involvement of the Russian special services to exacerbation of the armed conflict;
    • regular supply of weapons;
    • recruiting, training and sending ‘volunteers’ and contractors to Donetsk and Luhansk regions to participate in the conflict;
    • direct appointment/dismissal of the leadership of the ‘DPR’/‘LPR’, full control over their actions;
    • shelling of positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the RF territory;
    • direct invasion of the Ukrainian territory by the regular army of the Russian Federation;
    • centralized coordination of armed militant groups throughout the period;
  4. The RF shall be liable for the administrative practice of human rights violations at territories not controlled by Ukraine, including assaults, disappearances, torture and killing of civilians, their capture and abuse, torture and extrajudicial executions of both civilians and Ukrainian servicemen, attacks on independent media, journalists, obstruction of the early elections of the President of Ukraine on 25 May 2014 and intimidation of residents in order to prevent their participation in voting, violation of the right to freedom of movement, attacks on religious communities and organizations.

The Government of Ukraine provided evidence of the direct involvement of the Russian Federation in the events in Eastern Ukraine and noted violations of rights provided by Articles 2 (Right to life), 3 (Prohibition of torture), 4 (Prohibition of slavery and forced labor), 5 (Right to liberty and security), 9 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion), 10 (Freedom of expression), 11 (Freedom of association) and 14(Prohibition of discrimination)of the Convention, Articles 1 (Protection of property), 2 (Right to education) and 3 (Right to free elections) of the First Protocol to the Convention.

20 December

The ECHR announced its intention to hold a public hearing in the case. In 2019, the Governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation must submit written positions for public hearings. Thereafter, the ECHR will decide on the date of the hearings in the case.

09 May

The ECHR decided to transfer the inter-State cases of Ukraine versus Russia to the Grand Chamber.

16 October

Comments in the case Ukraine v. Russia, No. 8019/16, regarding human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions were provided.

In support of Ukraine's position, a significant body of evidence was provided, including:

  • detailed timeline of the RF aggression in the eastern regions of Ukraine in 2014 with the relevant evidence (including photo and video files);
  • files, that prove the organization of pro-Russian rallies in the eastern regions of Ukraine in March-April 2014;
  • evidence of hidden military buildup by the RF and transfer of units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the territory of Ukraine;
  • border territory shelling;
  • illegal crossing of the state border of Ukraine by personnel and military equipment of the Russian Federation;
  • evidence of the participation of regular units of the RF Armed Forces in the events in Donbass (photo and video files, weapons of Russian origin not used by the Ukrainian army);
  • data on the logistical support of the activities of ‘DPR’/‘LPR’ by the RF;
  • testimonies of eyewitnesses of the Russian aggression, testimonies of the persons captured, interrogated and tortured by representatives of the Russian special services (more than 80 witnesses);
  • confirmation of economic, humanitarian and political support of the so-called ‘DPR’/‘LPR’ by the RF.

01 December

The ECHR fixed the time limit for the Government of Ukraine until 28 February 2017 to submit comments in response to the comments of the Russian Federation. Given the scale of the human rights violations, as well as the position of the Russian Federation, the Government of Ukraine requested the ECHR to provide additional time to prepare Ukraine's position, which was granted by the Court.

29 September

The Government of Ukraine sent a request to the ECHR to set a time limit for the Government of Ukraine to provide comments in response to the position of the Government of the Russian Federation on the events in Donbass.

12 February

The ECHR sent to Ukraine a comments from the Government of the Russian Federation on the admissibility of case No. 20958/14. The position of the respondent Government limited to allegations of ‘legal entry’ of ‘the Republic of Crimea’ into the Russian Federation following the results of the ‘referendum’ held on 16 March 2014 in Crimea. With regard to human rights violations in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions not controlled by Ukraine, the Russian Government denied any involvement of Russia in the events in Eastern Ukraine.

At the same time, the ECHR informed the Government of Ukraine about the decision to divide the inter-State case Ukraine v. Russia into separate cases (according to geographical criteria), namely:

  1. Ukraine v. Russia No. 20958/14 concerning complaints regarding events in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
  2. Ukraine v. Russia No. 8019/16 concerning complaints regarding events in Eastern Ukraine.

The ECHR instructed Ukraine to comment only on Russia's comments on the events in Crimea (case No. 20958/14).

27 January

The ECHR notified the Government of Ukraine about the Russian Government's request for time extension to provide the comments on the admissibility of the inter-State application Ukraine v. Russia.

10 September

The ECHR notified the Government of Ukraine about the Russian Government's request for time extension to provide the comments on the admissibility of the inter-State application Ukraine v. Russia.

24 March

The ECHR notified the Government of Ukraine about the Russian Government's request for time extension to provide the comments on the admissibility of the inter-State application Ukraine v. Russia.

25 November

The ECHR sent the case Ukraine v. Russia to the Government of the RF indicating 25 March 2015 as the time limit to submit comments on its admissibility.

13 March

The Government of Ukraine filed the first inter-State application against the Russian Federation with the ECHR in connection with the negative developments in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea since the end of February 2014. On the same day, the ECHR accepted the application and the case Ukraine v. Russia was granted No. 20958/14, giving it priority status in accordance with Article 41 of the ECHR Rules.

Given the further negative developments, including the situation in Eastern Ukraine, this inter-State application was amended by new facts of violations by Russia of the provisions of the Convention during 2014, in particular:

  • On June 12, 2014, the Government of Ukraine sent an amendment to the inter-State case No. 20958/14 to the ECHR claiming human rights violations in the uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions since April 2014;
  • On November 20, 2014, the Government of Ukraine sent another amendment to the inter-State application on further violations of human rights by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the ECHR.

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