Europe rights court fines Russia $11.5 million over Georgian deportation
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Europe rights court fines Russia $11.5 million over Georgian deportation

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that the Russian government must pay the Georgian government €10 million (USD $11.5 million) over the deportation of 1,500 Georgian nationals.

The Georgian government accused Russia of implementing a “coordinated policy of arresting, detaining and expelling Georgian nationals” starting in the fall of 2006. Georgia stated that 4,600 expulsion orders were issued to Georgian nationals and 2,380 were detained and forcibly expelled.

The court determined that only 1,500 of the group were victims of collective expulsion in violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4. Some of these individuals were also victims of unlawful deprivation of liberty, in violation of Article 5 § 1 and inhuman and degrading conditions of detention in violation of Article 3.

Russia attempted to argue that the government of Georgia was not a valid party to raise the claim, and instead the Georgian nationals themselves needed to be the party in the case. However, the Court found that challenges under Article 41 of the Convention can be made in inter-State cases. Article 41 allows the court to award reparations due to violations of the Convention or the Protocols.

The Georgian government must distribute the payment to the deported Georgian nationals. Individuals who suffered only the violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 will receive €2,000 each. Individuals who also suffered violations of Article 5 § 1 and Article 3 of the Convention will receive between €10,000 and €15,000.

The resolution was passed by a vote of 16-1. The dissenting opinion argued that Russia should pay the individuals directly instead of the payments going through the Georgian government.

Russia and Georgia have had strained ties with each other for many years. In May Georgia accused Russia of committing war crimes in 2008 during Russia’s air assaults on Georgia. In August 2008 Russia accused Georgia of committing war crimes against ethnic Russians. In October 2015 an International Criminal Court prosecutor announced an investigation into alleged war crimes during 2008.