The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine announces that it has today filed the first part of Ukraine’s substantive submissions in its application before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, concerning the violations of the European Convention on Human Rights committed by the russian federation in the conduct of its illegal invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine.
Following its unlawful conduct dating back to 2014, on 24 February 2022, the russian federation launched a further unlawful wave of military aggression against Ukraine with the express purpose of the overthrow of the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and the consequent destruction of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
In the course of this latest military aggression, russia has caused – and is continuing to cause – loss of life, injury and trauma, population displacement and damage to property on a scale not seen in the continent of Europe since the Second World War. Ukraine’s application seeks an end to the mass and gross human rights violations that is the result of the military aggression launched by russia. In due course, the Court will be invited to find that russia has been guilty of the most flagrant, serious and sustained violations of the Convention ever placed before the Court, and to award just satisfaction on an equally unprecedented scale.
Russia’s conduct has embraced both targeted and indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians and their property across Ukraine in breach of all applicable norms of international law. These attacks have been and continue to be carried out by russian military forces and/or other irregular paramilitary forces under their control. In the course of these attacks, tens of thousands of civilians have been injured, killed, detained or remain missing, hundreds of thousands have had their property or homes destroyed, millions of individuals have been internally displaced or forced to leave Ukraine and thousands of corporate entities have had their businesses and property destroyed. These matters have each occurred at the express direction and control of russian authorities at the highest levels, up to and including the president of russia, vladimir putin.
The filing made by Ukraine today addresses russia’s egregious human rights violations during the initial phase of the war, from the onset of russia’s invasion in the early hours of 24 February 2022 until the effective withdrawal of its ground forces from around Kyiv and other cities in northern Ukraine on 7 April 2022 (russia’s violations in the period thereafter will be addressed by Ukraine in subsequent filings).
Through its relentless actions in breach of the most fundamental norms of international law, russia has committed a multitude of violations of the Convention of the utmost gravity, including violations of the right to life (Article 2), the prohibition on torture (Article 3), the right to liberty and security (Article 5), the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8), the rights to freedom of thought and expression (Articles 9 and 10), freedom of assembly and association (Article 11) and the right to protection of property (Article 1, Protocol 1). By these proceedings, Ukraine seeks, in addition to orders of the Court requiring the status quo to be restored and full withdrawal of russian forces, an award of monetary compensation for these violations. The proceedings will require the institution of investigations by the Court into Russia’s illegal acts, remedial measures and compensation for all injured parties. Compensation for the property damage caused by russia’s unlawful conduct is likely to require an award of hundreds of billions of dollars. It is indicated that at the first stage of the russian military invasion (late February 2022 – April 2022) the damage amounted at least US $80 billion.
The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine expresses Ukraine’s gratitude to its external counsel of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a team of individual barristers led by Timothy Otty QC and Guglielmo Verdirame QC, and a team of Asters law firm all of whom have worked and continue to work tirelessly and pro bono in order to prepare and present this most important claim on behalf of Ukraine and its people.