17.08.2005 | Volodymyr Yavorsky. RUPOR

Decision of the European Court in Sergey Chizhov’s case


The day before yesterday the European Court of human rights made public its decision in the case Sergey Chizhov vs. Ukraine (claim No. 6962/02). He complained against Ukraine in the connection with non-fulfillment of the court decision about paying out the compensation for illegal arrest, which violated his right for fair trial. The European Court supported the claimant.

This case started in October 1997 in Zaporozhye, when two militiamen detained Chizhov and placed transported him to a sobering-up station. At this they beat him a little, and after that he was even brought to hospital. And the next day militiamen decided to carry the case through and accused Chizhov of an attempt to bribe them. Yet, three weeks later the Leninskiy district court of Zaporozhye acquitted Chizhov.

So, since Chizhov was fully acquitted, he turned to the prosecutor’s office with the complaint against the illegal actions of militiamen.

There was no reaction, and in February 1998 he brought a civil action against the district militia department demanding the compensation of damage inflicted by the illegal actions of militia. Only in March the prosecutor’s office instituted a criminal case against the militia officers.

As a result, on 29 January 1999 the Leninskiy district court of Zaporozhye issued the verdict, which convicted two militiamen for three years on probation for exceeding their official authorities and inflicting physical injuries to Chizhov. Besides, Chizhov had to obtain the compensation for illegal militia actions equal to 3709.13 hryvnas (831 euros). The regional court supported the verdict.

However, this decision was not fulfilled. The state treasury confirmed that the district department of militia did not have money for that. The claimant handed the petition about arrest of property of the debtor (the militia station), but the court stated that it was forbidden by the law, and later – that there was no property. Then the red tape began in the executive service, treasury and courts.

Having not found the truth in his country, in 2002 Chizhov submitted a claim to the European Court of human rights. Then the process revived in Ukraine, and the decision about the compensation was executed only on 14 August 2003, though actually Chizhov lost about 200 euros because of inflation.

The European Court of human rights decided that such a long term (more than 4 years) of execution of the court decision made the right for fair trial senseless, that is there Article 6 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms was violated. In other words, reference to a court becomes a fiction, since its decisions are not fulfilled. “The state is responsible for introduction of the mechanisms of execution of court decisions so that they are fulfilled without delays”, reads the decision of the European Court.

Besides, the Court acknowledged that there were no efficient tools for protection of this right in Ukraine, in particular, concerning the influence on execution of court decisions. That is why the violation by Ukraine of Article 13 of the Convention was also recognized.

Moreover, this unanimous decision the Court adjudged to Chizhov the compensation of 2500 euros for the inflicted material and non-material damage.

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