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European Court of Human Rights; Russia; Ukraine: Ukraine Files an Inter-State Application Against Russia

(Mar. 20, 2014) On March 14, 2014, following the intervention of Russia in Crimea and the ensuing crisis, Ukraine filed an inter-state application against the Russian Federation with the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR), which is located in Strasbourg. (Press Release, Council of Europe, Interim Measures Granted in Inter-State Case Brought by Ukraine Against Russia (Mar. 14, 2014), ECHR website.)

The application was based on article 33 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which allows any contracting state to file an application against another state for violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention. (European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (as amended through June 1, 2010), art. 33, ECHR website.)

Due to what it considers to be the high likelihood that the unfolding crisis may give rise to loss of life and other violations of human rights in Crimea, the government of Ukraine also requested the imposition of interim rules based on article 39 of the Rules of the Court, which authorizes the Court to order such measures. (Rules of Court, art. 39, Jan. 1, 2014, ECHR website.)

In response to Ukraine’s request, the President of the Third Section of the Court urged the Russian Federation and Ukraine to abstain from any measures, especially military actions, which might result in human rights violations against civilian population. The President also called on both parties of inform him of any steps taken to improve the situation. (Press Release, supra.)