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Case of Georgia v. Russia (I) (Just Satisfaction)

  • Yulia Ioffe (a1)

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In Georgia v. Russia (I) (Just Satisfaction), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) ordered the Russian Federation to pay Georgia EUR 10 million as reparation for Russia's “coordinated policy of arresting, detaining and expelling Georgian nationals” in the autumn of 2006 (paras. 51, 80). In so doing, the Court reaffirmed its position from Cyprus v. Turkey (IV) (Just Satisfaction) that financial compensation for non-pecuniary damage can be awarded in interstate cases. Although Georgia v. Russia (I) (Just Satisfaction) marks the development of a new line of ECtHR jurisprudence, it is unlikely that the decision will effectively prevent further mass violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention) by the states parties or offer fair compensation to the victims of such violations.

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References

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1 Case of Georgia v. Russia (I), App. No. 13255/07, Just Satisfaction (Eur. Ct. H.R. Jan. 31, 2019).

2 Cyprus v. Turkey (IV), App. No. 25781/94, Just Satisfaction (Eur. Ct. H.R. May 12, 2014). See also Frederike Kollmar & Jan Martin Hoffmann, Fewer Complaints, More Satisfaction: Cyprus v. Turkey, 3 Cambridge J. Int'l & Comp. L. 1361 (2014).

3 Case of Georgia v. Russia (I), App. No. 13255/07, Merits (Eur. Ct. H.R. July 3, 2014).

4 Id. Two other cases are pending: Case of Georgia v. Russia (II), App. No. 38263/08; and Case of Georgia v. Russia (IV), App. no. 39611/18. See Octavian Ichim, Just Satisfaction Under the European Convention on Human Rights 93 (2015).

5 Case of Georgia v. Russia (I), App. no. 13255/07, Merits, paras. 135, 240.

6 Id., para. 240. The Court also held that there had been no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), no violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 (procedural safeguards relating to expulsion of aliens), and no violation of Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property and right to education).

7 Ichim, supra note 4, at 18; William Schabas, The European Convention on Human Rights: A Commentary 830 (2015).

8 Schabas, supra note 7, at 830.

9 “If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.” European Convention on Human Rights, Art. 41, Nov. 4, 1950, 213 UNTS 221 [hereinafter ECHR].

10 Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, Compensation for Victims in Inter-state Cases. Is Georgia v Russia (I) Another Step Forward?, Strasbourg Observers (Feb. 14, 2019), at https://strasbourgobservers.com/2019/02/14/compensation-for-victims-in-inter-state-cases-is-georgia-v-russia-i-another-step-forward.

11 Cyprus v. Turkey (IV), App. No. 25781/94, Just Satisfaction, para. 63.

12 In Cyprus v. Turkey, the Court explained that an application “may contain different types of complaints pursuing different goals.” If the state complains about general issues (for example, systemic problems and shortcomings or administrative practice) in another state, the main purpose of the applicant government is to vindicate the public order of Europe within the framework of collective responsibility under the Convention. In such case, an award of just satisfaction is impermissible. Id., paras. 43–44.

13 Id., para. 47.

14 Isabella Risini, The Inter-state Application Under the European Convention on Human Rights 124 (2018).

15 Case of Georgia v. Russia (I), App. No. 13255/07, Merits, para. 129.

16 “The Court shall examine the case together with the representatives of the parties and, if need be, undertake an investigation, for the effective conduct of which the High Contracting Parties concerned shall furnish all necessary facilities.” ECHR, supra note 9, Art. 38.

17 “The parties have a duty to cooperate fully in the conduct of the proceedings and, in particular, to take such action within their power as the Court considers necessary for the proper administration of justice. This duty shall also apply to a Contracting Party not party to the proceedings where such cooperation is necessary.” European Court of Human Rights, Rules of Court, Art. 44A.

18 Aksenova, Marina & Marchuk, Iryna, Reinventing or Rediscovering International Law? The Russian Constitutional Court's Uneasy Dialogue with the European Court of Human Rights, 16 Int'l. J. Const. L. 1322, 1330–31 (2018); Andrew Drzemczewski & Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, Painful Relations Between the Council of Europe and Russia, EJIL:Talk! (Sept. 28, 2018), at https://www.ejiltalk.org/painful-relations-between-the-council-of-europe-and-russia.

19 Ichim, supra note 4, at 24–26 (discussing evidentiary standard in individual cases).

20 European Court of Human Rights, Inter-states Applications (Jan. 31, 2019), available at https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/InterStates_applications_ENG.pdf.

21 Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Dem. Rep. Congo v. Uganda), Order of 1 July 2015, 2015 ICJ Rep. 580 (July 1).

22 Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Dem. Rep. Congo v. Uganda), Judgment, 2005 ICJ Rep. 168, para. 345 (Dec. 19). See also Mathias, Stephen, The 2005 Judicial Activity of the International Court of Justice, 100 AJIL 629, 637–44 (2006).

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  • ISSN: 0002-9300
  • EISSN: 2161-7953
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