Advocates Viktor Ageev and Andrey Fedur will represent the judges of the Appeal court of the Donetsk oblast in the case against Ukraine in Strasbourg court (press release)
Advocates Viktor Ageev (company “Ageev, Berezhnoy and partners”) and Andrey Fedur (company “Fedur”) will represent the judges of the Appeal court of the Donetsk oblast in the case against Ukraine in Strasbourg court.
37 judges, that is almost entire composition of the chamber on charge of criminal cases, turned to the European Court of human rights in Strasbourg with the claim about pay arrears and the violation of their right for just court.
Before this the judges turned to the Pecherskiy district court with the claim against the Ministry of Finances of Ukraine. The court acknowledged the demands of the plaintiffs as lawful and resolved to collect from the Ministry of Finances the arrears.
However, the Ministry of Finances of Ukraine did not execute the court decision. The state executive service also could do nothing.
Then the judges turned to the prosecutors office with the demand to take the appropriate measures, since, according to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, non-execution or impediment to the execution of court decisions is regarded as a crime. At last, on 23 May 2003 the judges got the response from the prosecutors office, which read that the offset of debt to judges was not allegedly provided by state budget (!), so the non-execution of the decision had been completely legal.
After that the judges had to turn to the European Court of human rights for the protection of their rights. The European Court accepted the complaint; the case was regarded as one of the highest priority and will be considered in accordance with the accelerated procedure.
This case reflected the acute problems of the state of courts and justice as a whole in Ukraine. On the one hand, the neglectful attitude of the state to representatives of judicial power is clearly seen; on the other hand, the state officials openly refused to execute the court decision.
The European Court has already expressed its opinion about the problem of non-execution of court decisions in the verdict on the case “Burdov vs. Russia”. In particular, the European Court pointed out that “the execution of a court decision must be considered as an integral part of court process”, and that “a state organ have no right to refer to the lack of finances to justify the non-execution of court decision on the collection of pay arrears”.
In the considered case against Ukraine the situation is aggravated with the fact that the violations were committed against the representatives of judicial power. The European Court of human rights never came across such humiliating treatment of judges on the side of the state.
It is obvious that now, when the case have been passed to the Strasbourg court, Ukraine will have pay not only the arrears, but also the compensation of moral damage inflicted to the claimants by the humiliation of the rights of judges and the insult of their status of representatives of justice.
The European Court obliged the government of Ukraine to send, up to 12 February 2004, the written explanations on this case to the Court and representatives of the claimants.
Maybe, the Ukrainian government should understand that the actions of the Ministry of Finances discredit Ukraine on the international level and should consider whether it is expedient to leave Nikolay Azarov on the post of the head of this Ministry.
We also hope that the consideration of this case in the European Court, as well as the recent shameful resolution of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (on the term of Presidents authorities), will make the Ukrainian citizens to focus the attention on the urgent necessity of reforming the judicial system in our country.
20 January 2003
Advocate company «Ageev, Berezhnoy and partners»