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For what Crimeans can sue Russia – lawyer's advice
Lawyer Serhii Zayets Photo by Mykola Myrnyi, Human Rights Information Center
Lawyer Serhii Zayets

In order to engage Russia accountable for actions in the Crimea, you do not have to wait for the international court of justice over the state-occupier. You can now submit individual complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

This may be done by many Crimeans. After all, through the occupation of the Crimea Russia violated several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A lawyer, expert of the Regional Center for human rights Serhii Zayets in his interview to Human Rights Information Center clarified what articles of the European Convention were violated by Russia in Crimea.

According to the expert, Russia will be obliged to pay to each Crimean, who served a complaint and won the case in the ECHR.

"The range of problems is quite large. We help Crimean residents file complaints for free. Mostly we take cases that do not have a large resonance in the media. Often we deal with cases of the violations many of the residents of Crimea face in everyday life. Because the situation with the occupation of Crimea is unique. Since the Second World War such there is not such precedent in the world", said Serhii Zayets.


Preparing complaints to the European court is a laborious and painstaking process. To appeal to the European court you must first exhaust all effective remedies. If the complaint is being prepared against Ukraine, you need to first go through all three court instances on the territory of our country.

The situation with Russia is not so unambiguous.

In most cases, before submitting the complaint to the ECHR you must first pass all three levels of the courts in the Russian Federation up to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. Because in civil cases, for example, the last instance is the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, which was formed and existed until the beginning of the occupation of the Crimea and its legitimacy does not cause doubts.

The situation in criminal cases is slightly different. The last instance that is subject to exhaustion is the appeal.

Difficulties with the appeal to the ECHR are also proper formulation of the complaint. Therefore, when you make such complaints, it is best to consult with lawyers who know these features.

The Regional center of human rights provides free aid to residents of the Crimea on all of these issues.

Reed more here.


Phone: +38 (044) 284-30-33

Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Recorded by Iryna Sedova, especially for the Human Rights Information Center

The material is prepared in collaboration with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting

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