ECHR ruling condemns Russian human rights violations in Crimea

The court’s ruling, based on evidence presented by the Ukrainian government, effectively dismantles Russia’s decade-long narrative of respecting human rights in Crimea and the claim that the region willingly joined Russia.

In a decision on June 25, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unanimously ruled that Russia has committed systematic human rights violations in Crimea since its occupation began in February 2014. This landmark judgment marks the first time an international judicial body has held Russia accountable for its policies in the annexed peninsula.

The court’s ruling, based on evidence presented by the Ukrainian government, effectively dismantles Russia’s decade-long narrative of respecting human rights in Crimea and the claim that the region willingly joined Russia. Margarita Sokorenko, Ukraine’s Commissioner for the ECHR at the Ministry of Justice, emphasized the significance of this decision in countering Russian propaganda.

The ECHR identified a wide range of human rights abuses, including:

1. Ill-treatment and unlawful detentions
2. Imposition of Russian legislation, rendering Crimean courts illegitimate
3. Forced adoption of Russian citizenship
4. Systematic mass searches
5. Forced transfer of convicts to Russian territory
6. Persecution of non-Russian Orthodox religious leaders
7. Suppression of non-Russian media and harassment of journalists
8. Prohibition of peaceful assemblies and persecution of organizers
9. Expropriation of private property
10. Closure of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar educational facilities
11. Restrictions on freedom of movement between Crimea and mainland Ukraine
12. Discrimination against Crimean Tatars
13. Violation of political prisoners’ rights and prevention of their return to Ukraine

This comprehensive list of violations paints a stark picture of life under Russian occupation in Crimea, contrasting sharply with Moscow’s claims of legitimacy and respect for local populations.

The ruling is particularly significant as it comes from a respected international judicial body, lending credibility to Ukraine’s long-standing accusations against Russia. It also provides a legal foundation for potential future actions against Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

This decision is likely to have far-reaching implications for international relations, potentially influencing the policies of countries and international organizations towards Russia and its actions in Crimea. It may also bolster Ukraine’s position in ongoing diplomatic efforts to address the broader conflict with Russia.