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European Court of Human Rights finds Russia guilty of violating human rights in occupied Crimea

by Nate Ostiller June 25, 2024 3:07 PM 2 min read
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in Strasbourg, France, on Sept. 27, 2023. (Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images) 
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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Russia guilty on June 25 of committing a "pattern or system of violations" of human rights in occupied Crimea since the peninsula was illegally annexed in 2014.

The decision stems from several complaints Ukraine brought to the court in the years following Russia's occupation of Crimea.

Ukraine argued that Russia had engaged in a "campaign of repression," which included "disappearances; ill-treatment; unlawful detention; impossibility to opt out of Russian citizenship; suppression of Ukrainian media and of the Ukrainian language in schools; pre-trial detention in overcrowded conditions; prosecution and conviction on fabricated charges without a fair trial in reprisal for any pro-Ukrainian stance; and, transfers from Crimea to prisons in Russia."

The court unanimously ruled that Russia was guilty of violating 11 different articles of the European Convention of Human Rights:

  • the right to life
  • the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment
  • the right to liberty and security
  • the right to a fair trial
  • no punishment without law
  • the right to respect for private and family life
  • freedom of religion
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of assembly
  • prohibition of discrimination
  • limitation on (the) use of restrictions on rights

The court also found that Russia had violated three protocols of the European Convention: the protection of property, the right to education, and the freedom of movement.

Lastly, the ECHR ruled that Russia had failed in its obligations to "furnish necessary facilities for the examination of the case" and that Russia "had to take measures as soon as possible" to bring back prisoners illegally transferred from occupied Crimea to Russia.

While the court's ruling did not address the legality of Russia's unlawful annexation, it said that Russia had a duty "to respect the laws already in force on occupied territory, which in this case would have been the pre-existing Ukrainian law."

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