Strasbourg issues ultimatum over Ukraine’s non-enforcement of domestic court rulings


The European Court of Human Rights has, since 2004, implemented a pilot-judgment procedure. The Court in a single judgment identifies systemic problems underlying a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and indicates in that judgment the remedial measures required to resolve such situations.

The first such pilot judgment was issued on 15 October 2009 with the case of Yuriy Nikolayevich Ivanov v. Ukraine (application no. 40450/04).

“The Court noted that the case concerned two recurring problems - the prolonged non-enforcement of final domestic decisions and the lack of an effective domestic remedy to deal with it. These problems lay behind the most frequent violations of the Convention continuously found by the Court since 2004 in over 300 cases in respect of Ukraine. The present case demonstrated that these problems had remained without a solution despite the clear Court’s case law urging Ukraine to take appropriate measures to resolve those issues. In view of the approximately 1400 applications against Ukraine currently pending before the Court and concerning the same questions, the Court concluded that an incompatible with the Convention practice existed in Ukraine and held unanimously that:

·      Ukraine had to introduce in its legal system, at the latest within one year from the date on which the judgment becomes final, an effective remedy which secured adequate and sufficient redress for non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of domestic judgments;

·      Ukraine had to grant such redress, including by reaching friendly settlements where possible, within one year from the date on which the judgment becomes final, to all applicants in such cases who had applied to the Court before the delivery of the present judgment, and whose applications had been communicated to the Ukrainian authorities;

·      In the event that no redress was granted following this judgment, the Court will resume its examination of all similar pending applications with a view to adopting a judgment on them;

·      that pending the adoption of the above measures, the Court will adjourn, for one year from the date on which the judgment becomes final, the proceedings in all new Ukrainian cases concerning solely the non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of domestic judgments.”

In the case brought by Yuriy Ivanov, a Russian national, the applicant had not been paid the lump sum retirement payment due him when he retired from the Ukrainian army. The courts ordered that he be paid this money in 2001, however in April 2004 the bailiffs wrote to Mr Ivanov informing him that the military unit had no money to pay and that forced sale of its assets was prohibited by law. The August 2001 judgment remains partially unenforced.

In 2002 Mr Ivanov brought proceedings against the bailiffs claiming that they were at fault for the non-enforcement of the August 2001 judgment. The court found in his favour and ordered the bailiffs to identify and freeze the military unit accounts in order to seize the money available there. They did not comply. New proceedings were brought by Ivanov seeking compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, in which the court granted his claim, partly, in July 2003. This judgment remains unenforced.

Effective remedy against non-enforcement

The Court found that a remedy had not existed at national level satisfying the requirements of Article 13 of the Convention in respect of Mr Ivanov’s complaints about the non-enforcement of the judgments in his favour. It held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 13.

From information at

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