CoE to deliberate over Russia’s refusal to compensate Georgian victims of illegal deportation

CoE Committee of Ministers will discuss the case involving Russia and Georgia this week.Photo: Patrick Seeger/EPA/EFE., 24 Sep 2019 - 16:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will discuss on how Russia implemented the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which obliged the country pay a €10 million fine to Georgian citizens illegally deported in 2006. 

Russia refused to pay the fine and the Georgian Justice Ministry urged the Committee of Ministers in May 2019 to get involved, using its levers to make Russia meet the verdict.

The case [its enforcement] will be discussed between September 23 and 25 by the Committee of Ministers,” the CoE website reads.

The two key levers the Committee of Ministers has to make the country meet its obligations are the suspension of the country’s membership or its voting rights in the Council of Europe. 

Russia regained its voting right to CoE only in June 2019, having lost it in 2014 following its annexation of the Crimea. 

Russia, which earlier had declined to pay its membership dues, agreed to pay them, as well as fines, amounting to €75 million before regaining the right. 

Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani called on the Committee of Ministers of CoE to get involved after Russia refused to pay the fine. Photo: Justice Ministry press office. 

On January 31, 2019 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights announced its judgment in the case Georgia v. Russia regarding the arrest, detention and collective expulsion of Georgian nationals from Russia in the autumn of 2006.

The verdict said Russia had to pay Georgia €10,000,000 for non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1,500 Georgian nationals.

As Russia did not pay the amount within the three-month term established by the court (by May 1, 2019), Georgian Justice Ministry demanded the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to hold debates regarding the issue.

  • According to Georgian government claims, during that period more than 4,600 expulsion orders were issued by Russian authorities against Georgian nationals.
  • More than 2,300 were detained and forcibly expelled and the remaining left the country by their own means.
  • The mass deportation was preceded by the arrest of four Russian officers on charges of espionage by the previous government of Georgia in September 2006.