In the practice of the ECHR, two complaints of Georgia against Russia in 2007 and 2008 can be distinguished. The first lawsuit concerned the mass expulsion of Georgians in 2006; in 2014, the court found that their rights had been violated. Georgia demanded compensation in the amount of 70.5 million euros. In 2019, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled that Russia should pay compensation to Georgia in the amount of 10 million euros. The second lawsuit is related to the hostilities of 2008; in January 2021, the court partially satisfied Georgia’s claims, finding Russia responsible for violation of Article 2 of the Convention (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture) and Article 8 (respect for private and family life). The issue of payment of compensation was postponed.
There is also a 2014 complaint by Ukraine against Russia in the ECHR. It is associated with the events in Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine. On January 14, 2021, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR partially recognized Ukraine’s claims in this case. Some of Kiev’s accusations against Moscow were recognized by the court as justified: “illegal imposition of Russian citizenship on residents of Crimea, arbitrary raids into private homes, expropriation of property without compensation, as well as the suppression of non-Russian media and the Ukrainian language in schools.”
The purpose of Russia’s filing a complaint is to cause a resonance, general condemnation of Ukraine in the international arena, as well as a non-state way of protecting the rights and interests of individuals, many of whom have Russian citizenship. Most likely, the new department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which received the authority from the Ministry of Justice to represent the interests of Russia in international courts, wants to loudly declare itself.
If the court considers the evidence of the Russian Federation to be justified, then Ukraine can be held liable for violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to life). Russia will have an opportunity to criticize Ukraine at meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and may also raise the issue of suspending Ukraine’s representation and voting rights in the Council of Europe or suspending its membership in the Council of Europe on the basis of Article 8 of the Charter of the Council of Europe.