ECHR unanimously accepts Georgia's application on rights violations by Russian occupation forces

  • The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday admitted Georgia’s lawsuit against Russia. Photo: CoE, 20 Apr 2023 - 14:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday deemed Georgia’s application against Russia on alleged deterioration of the human rights situation along the administrative boundary line between the Government-controlled territory and its  Russian-occupied territories as admissible. 

The court said it was Georgia’s fourth application against Russia, lodged by the Georgian Government in August 2018, and noted the judgment on its merits would be the next stage. 

In the application, the Georgian Government alleged that forces under the control of Russia - which declared the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) as independent states after its 2008 conflict with Georgia - have been engaged in harassment, unlawful arrests and detentions, assaults, torture, killing and intimidation of ethnic Georgians who have attempted to cross the line or have lived next to it, since 2009. 

The Georgian authorities also alleged Russia had failed to conduct a European Convention-compliant investigation into unlawful arrests and deaths of three Georgian citizens in the occupied territories - Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and David Basharuli. 

The court said it had the jurisdiction to deal with alleged violations adjacent to the ABL as they took place before Russia’s exit from the European Convention in September 2022, but noted it would consider the three individual cases as alleged illustrations of such practices as they had already been the subject of three pending individual applications. 

The court also agreed that no events that had occurred before 2009 - or before the start of the process of so-called “borderisation”-  could be taken into consideration.

The ECHR noted that along with three other applications lodged by Georgia against Russia over the years, it had also received almost 250 individual applications against Russia, Georgia or both states related to the 2008 conflict or the process of borderisation. 

Georgian Justice Minister Rati Bregadze last year said the country had won all 3,300 complaints filed with the ECHR against Georgia following the 2008 war over potential violations and crimes committed during the conflict.