Ukraine: Russia directed and ran military coup in Crimea
© WikiMedia (Adrian Grycuk)
Ukraine: Russia directed and ran military coup in Crimea

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday heard complaints from Ukraine about Russian involvement in the military coup and subsequent Russian annexation of Crimea.

From Feburary 27, 2014, Russia has exercised control over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Ukraine alleges that there was a practice of killing Ukrainian military and officers of law enforcement along with civilians that was attributable to Russia.

After the annexation, Ukrainian court judgments were reclassified under Russian law and those convicted were brought to Russian territory. Additionally, Russian citizenship was imposed on the population, the refusal of which would deprive the people of many rights.

There were reports of “attacks, abductions, ill-treatment and harassment of journalists doing their work.” There are allegations of harassment of religious ministers who were not a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Also, the new border between Crimea and Ukraine restricts freedom of movement of Ukrainian nationals.

In March 2014, the court called on Russia and Ukraine to refrain from any measures, military measures in particular, that could bring about civilian deprivation of rights.

Russia rejects these allegations and tried to strike out the case on Wednesday to prevent proceeding to the stage of gathering direct evidence.

Ben Emmerson, the representative for the Ukrainian government, stated that accepting “Russia’s claim to sovereignty over Crimea would undermine a critical cornerstone of international law – the prohibition on the use of force by one nation on the sovereign territory of another without its consent, without a resolution of the United Nations security council, and in the absence of any possible claim to self-defence.”

There should be a decision in this case by the end of the year.