Ukraine v. Russia (VIII) № 55855/18
Ukraine vs Russia
On 7 January 2019, the Government of Ukraine filed the inter-State application No. 55855/18 against the Russian Federation regarding violations of rights of the captured Ukrainian servicemen of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after the attack on three Ukrainian vessels of the Ukrainian Naval Forces – the Nikopol, the Berdyansk, the Yani Kapu by vessels of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018.
In particular, Ukraine alleges that the Russian Federation violated the rights of 24 servicemen of the Ukrainian Naval Forces as a result of an illegal attack on Ukrainian vessels, wounding and capturing Ukrainian sailors, their illegal arrest and prosecution, as well as detention in Russian penitentiaries.
The case is currently being considered on its admissibility
The ECHR suspended the applying of interim measures under the Rule 39 indicated on 4 December 2018 to the Government of the Russian Federation due to the return of the servicemen to Ukraine. At the same time, the case “Ukraine v. Russia (VIII)” No. 55855/18 is pending before the ECHR.
The 24 Ukrainian servicemen returned to Ukraine within the framework of the prisoners exchange with the Russian Federation.
Ukraine submitted an amendment to the case of continuing violation of the right to liberty and security guaranteed by Article 5 of the Convention in respect of the 24 captured Ukrainian servicemen due to non-compliance by the Russian Federation with the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea dated 25 May 2019 on release and return to Ukraine of the crews of Ukrainian Naval ships the Nikopol, the Berdyansk, the Yani Kapu detained by Russia.
The ECHR notified about sending information of Ukraine to the Russian Government and stated that that request complied with Ukraine's request dated 28 November 2019 and was accordingly covered by interim measures under the Rule 39 indicated by the ECHR on 4 December 2018. Therefore, the Russian Government had to provide proper medical care to the wounded servicemen on the basis of the decision of the ECHR to implement interim measures under Rule 39 dated 4 December 2018.
The Government of Ukraine sent to the ECHR additional request under Rule 39 of the Rules of ECHR. The letter provided the ECHR with additional information on the state of health of three servicemen injured during the Russian attack on vessels of the Ukrainian Naval Forces on 25 November 2018 and indicated the need to provide them with appropriate medical care. The Government of Ukraine requested the ECHR to indicate the RF Government to transfer the Ukrainian servicemen to specialized medical institutions for further treatment and offered relevant Ukrainian medical institutions that were willing to provide such services free of charge.
The Government of Ukraine filed the inter-State application against the Russian Federation No. 55855/18 regarding the violation of the rights of captured Ukrainian Navy servicemen.
The Government of Ukraine alleges violation by the Russian Federation of Articles 2 (Right to life), 3 (Prohibition of torture), 5 (Right to liberty and security), 6 (Right to a fair trial) and 38 (Examination of the case) of the Convention.
Ukraine, in particular, alleges violation of the rights of the 24 servicemen of the Ukrainian Naval Forces as a result of illegal attack on Ukrainian ships, wounding and capturing Ukrainian servicemen in the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018, their illegal detention and prosecution, and holding in Russian penitentiaries. In addition, the Government of Ukraine claims that the refusal of the RF Government to comply with the requests indicated by the ECHR on 29 November 2018 and 4 December 2018 constitutes a breach of the RF’s obligation to provide all necessary conditions for due examination of the cases (Art. 38 of the Convention).
Man and the Right | The ECHR is considering Ukraine's case against this
On 10 and 19 December 2018, the RF Government applied to the ECHR for cancellation of this decision. However, the ECHR repeatedly rejected such requests and upheld interim measures under the Rule 39.
The ECHR indicated the interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of ECHR, satisfying the request of the Government of Ukraine. On the basis of Rule 39 of the Rules of ECHR, it obliged the Russian Federation to provide Ukrainian servicemen with the necessary medical care, as well as to submit the information specified in the letter of the ECHR dated 29 November 2018.
At the same time, the ECHR set 7 January 2019 as the time limit for the Government of Ukraine to submit a full inter-State application under Article 33 (“Inter-State Applications”) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The ECHR, having considered Ukraine’s request, ordered the RF to provide information on the circumstances of the capture of Ukrainian Navy servicemen, the legal grounds for their detention, as well as their health condition and medical care by 03 December 2018.
The RF Government did not comply with the instructions of the ECHR in time, stating that it would provide the relevant information within a timeframe it considered reasonable.
On 25 November 2018, 24 servicemen of the Ukrainian Naval Forces were captured as a result of the attack of vessels of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation on three Ukrainian vessels of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – the Nikopol, the Berdyansk, the Yani Kapu in the Kerch Strait. In this regard, the Government of Ukraine filed a request with the ECHR on 28 November 2018 under the Rule 39 of the Rules of ECHR requesting it to order the Government of the Russian Federation to ensure the conventional rights of captured Ukrainian Navy servicemen, including provision of medical care to the wounded and return of the captured servicemen to Ukraine.
For reference: Pursuant to Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the ECHR may indicate interim measure to any State Party to the Convention. Interim measures shall mean urgent measures that are applied only in cases where there is a risk of irreparable harm. By virtue of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the ECHR may apply interim measures which are binding on the State.
The Government of Ukraine claimed that the actions of the Russian Federation contradicted the rules of international humanitarian law, which regulates the treatment of prisoners of war, which in turn leads to a violation of Art. 2, 3 and 5 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Government of Ukraine requested the ECHR to order the Government of the Russian Federation to:
- provide comprehensive information on the state of health and conditions of detention of Ukrainian servicemen;
- provide appropriate treatment to wounded servicemen;
- return wounded servicemen to Ukraine immediately as soon as their state of health allows transportation;
- return the servicemen to Ukraine, but before it – to ensure conditions of detention according to humanitarian law, in particular, first of all, to release them from the penitentiary institutions.