Court in Strasbourg to consider Russian liability for abduction in Ukraine


The European Court of Human Rights is communicating with the governments of Russia and Ukraine over the application by Kateryna Rakhno from March 10 regarding the abduction of her husband, Yevhen.  The application is also against Russia since the latter is effectively controlling the Crimea and the area of the Kherson oblast on the border with the Crimea.  It was at a stop post there that a group of journalists and activists, including Yevhen Rakhno, were stopped on Sunday, March 9, and then taken away.  As reported, they were only released on Tuesday evening.  Rakhno was able to make a brief call to his wife during which he said that he had been beaten and robbed by Crimean Berkut officers.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union reports that the Court in Strasbourg has asked Russia and Ukraine a number of questions, including the grounds for stopping and checking the car; who the people were at the stop post; if they were government agents, then of which country; whether Rakhno was deprived of his liberty;  and what had been done to establish his whereabouts.

The applicant is represented by Oleh Veremeyenko and UHHRU Executive Director and lawyer Arkady Bushchenko.  The latter stresses the importance of this case in raising the issue of Russia’s responsibility for events on territory of which it is de facto in control.  He says that Russia’s liability may be recognized by analogy with the case of Ilaşcu and Others v. Moldova and Russia, or the case of Cyprus v. Turkey.  

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