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Is Russia finally going to have to pay for its crimes?

Is Russia finally going to have to pay for its crimes?

Today the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) has started the inter-state case on the violations of human rights carried out by Russian forces on the territory of Ukraine since spring 2014. The case of Ukraine vs. Russia is going to be a conjoined hearing, consisting of five large cases considering multiple occasions of unlawful incarceration, torture and depriving of the right on life of Ukrainian citizens by Russian forces.

According to the director of the Foundation for Strategic Cases of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Mikhail Tarahkalo, this case would mean a lot to Ukraine. In case of victory at the ECHR this would be the first step of the official international recognition of the fact of Russia’s responsibility for the actions of militants of DNR and LNR in Ukraine. This would be the first major decision of an independent international body recognizing the invasion of Russia on the territory of Donbas and distribution of its jurisdiction to the territory.

Will Russia take this easily? Considering how most of the major hostilities in the East Ukraine and some of rogue terrorist attacks in major Ukrainian cities have been occasionally timed to some of the biggest hearings on Ukrainian situation in Europe, there is a reason to up the vigilance for the Ukrainian special forces, as the language of diplomacy and law has been proven to be not the Russia’s way, as it demonstrated in the past year of atrocities and violence. Yet the international victory would be a turning point of war, and hence Ukraine has to gather all its resources to make this breakthrough happen.

“In case of recognition of the violations, Russia will be forced to pay substantial compensation to the applicants, i.e. Ukraine”, the Ukrainian Helsinki Group suggests, so clearly, many will be at stake in this hearing.

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