European court finds Russia guilty of ‘multiple' human rights violations in Crimea

Violations since 2014 include ‘disappearances; ill-treatment; unlawful detention' by Moscow as well as ‘discrimination against Crimean Tatars,' says human rights court

16:02 - 25/06/2024 Tuesday
File photo
File photo

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday found Russia guilty of “multiple” human rights violations in Crimea, a territory of Ukraine Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, in a move some see as a precursor to the current war.

“In the case of Ukraine v. Russia (re Crimea) the Court has found multiple violations of the European Convention (of Human Rights),” the court said in a written statement, referring to the court's founding charter.

The case involves Kyiv's claims that Moscow has breached the European Convention on Human Rights in Crimea since February 2014, including persecuting Ukrainians for their political views, it said.

“The case concerned the Ukrainian Government's allegations of human-rights violations that had been part of a campaign of repression since early 2014 in Crimea, which included in particular disappearances; ill-treatment; unlawful detention; impossibility to opt out of Russian citizenship; suppression of Ukrainian media and of the Ukrainian language in schools; pre-trial detention in overcrowded conditions; prosecution and conviction on fabricated charges in reprisal for any pro-Ukrainian stance; discrimination against Crimean Tatars; and, transfers from Crimea to prisons in Russia,” said the court.

The court, formed under the Council of Europe, found sufficient evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the incidents formed a pattern of violations, the statement read.

The lack of effective investigations and the widespread application of these measures indicated “official tolerance by Russian authorities,” it added.

After taking it over in 2014, Moscow turned the Crimean Peninsula, which is home to around 350,000 ethnic Tatars, into a large Russian military base by deploying weapon systems as well as 150,000 soldiers.

Türkiye, the EU, and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.

Since that time, Crimea's ethnic Turkic Tartars have faced a "systematic oppression and intimidation campaign," in the words of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, including the banning of their representative body the Mejlis, raids on homes and mass detentions, and suppression of the right to assembly and protest as well as freedom of expression.

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