The European Supreme Court of Human Rights ruled on Wednesday that it could rule on a lawsuit brought by the Netherlands and Ukraine against Russia over alleged rights violations in eastern Ukraine in 2014, including the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. got down. The decision of the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights marks an important step forward in the Dutch-Ukrainian effort to hold Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine and could pave the way for a reparations order. be. The court said a decision on the merits of the lawsuit would be handed down at a later date.
The lawsuit was filed before Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago. Dutch Minister of Justice Dylan Jesirgoz Zegerius said in a statement: “Very good news. The decision by the European Court of Human Rights represents a new step in finding truth and justice for the victims of Flight MH17 and their families. It’s an important step,” he said in a statement. Commissioner Wopke Fuchstra also praised the ruling as an important milestone in the pursuit of accountability. “We will continue to do everything in our power to achieve justice for all 298 victims of flight #MH17 and their loved ones,” he tweeted.
The court said evidence presented at a hearing last year established that from May 11, 2014, areas in eastern Ukraine controlled by separatist rebels were “under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation” and that Moscow “had a significant influence on the separatists’ military strategy” including providing weapons, carrying out artillery attacks requested by the rebels and giving them political and economic support. The court said there was enough evidence to establish the admissibility of most of Ukraine’s claims of rights violations and a linked case about the downing of MH17 filed by the Netherlands. It said a small number of allegations were not admissible. Ben Emmerson, a lawyer who represented Ukraine at court hearings, said the decision “shows that President Putin cannot escape the long arm of international law.”
He said the court ruled it has jurisdiction “to hold Russia accountable, to make legally binding findings of Russian culpability and to award reparations for Russian war crimes, including the murder of Ukrainian civilians, the shooting down of the passenger Flight MH17, the torture and murder of prisoners of war, the destruction and unlawful appropriation of private property, the kidnapping by Russian forces of three groups of orphaned children and their compulsory transfer to Russia.” The Strasbourg court is an important part of the Council of Europe, which is the continent’s foremost human rights institution. Russia was kicked out of the council last year in an unprecedented move, citing the invasion of Moscow and the war in Ukraine. However, courts can deal with cases against Russia prior to its expulsion.
The Strasbourg case, two Russians and one Ukrainian rebel, were killed in November in a series of murders linked to their involvement in the shooting down of Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. was convicted in absentia in a Dutch criminal case. A Boeing 777 was shot down over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. Ukraine has accused Moscow of numerous violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, including “unlawful military attacks against civilians that resulted in many deaths, including the downing of Flight MH17 and the summary execution and killing of civilians” and the long-term participation of soldiers. sued. in hostilities. Russia is also accused of kidnapping 85 Ukrainian children.
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