(«Postup», Lviv, 18 May 2004)
European Court accepted the complaint of Donetsk human rights protector Sergiy Salov against Ukraine
The European Court accepted the complaint of Donetsk human rights protector Sergiy Salov against Ukraine. Yet, the Court recommended Ukraine to settle the conflict with her citizen voluntarily, otherwise Salov would present to court the account on the material damage, which had been inflicted to him as a result of the illegal arrest and prohibition to practice advocacy, and the Court would demand from the Ukrainian government to pay the compensation to the human rights protector.
The problems between the Ukrainian authorities and Salov started as early as in 1999, when he was condemned after the fabricated accusation of distribution of false leaflets against Leonid Kuchma at night before the Presidential election. In January 2001, when the corresponding court instances refused to rehabilitate Salov, he turned to the European Court. One of the proofs sent by him to Strasbourg were major Melnichenkos audio records, in which General Prosecutor Mykhaylo Potebenko and former Donetsk governor Viktor Yanukovich discussed Salovs case with President Kuchma.
In November 2002 the European Court preliminarily accepted the complaint of the advocate and turned to the government of Ukraine. “For some time the Court corresponded with the government, and, finally, took the decision in my favor”, told Salov. In the complaint the advocate asked the European Court to recognize his arrest and condemnation as illegal and to oblige the Ukrainian government to pay him 150 thousand USD of compensation.
The decision about the acceptability of Salovs claim was issued on 27 April 2004 by the court chamber, which consisted of seven persons, including Ukrainian Valeriy Butkevich.
“Now the government has to negotiate with me. If the conditions proposed by the government would satisfy me, then I, maybe, should agree. If no, then the decision in my favor would be adopted. In that case I shall express my wish to be present personally at the last court sitting”, stated the human rights protector.
Salov assured that the compromise was possible. However, rehabilitation of the Donetsk advocate is a question that may not be discussed; the question of restoration of all rights, of which he was deprived, also has no compromises. As to the material compensation, Salov says that he will, maybe, “discount” one or two thousands. “I waited for this decision for four years. I am very happy. I was very uneasy, although I was sure that I should win”, said Salov.
The negotiations between Salov and the state must be completed up to 30 January. After this he must present to the Court the account on the losses caused by the prohibition to work as an advocate.