The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a complaint brought by Ukraine against Russia alleging human rights violations in the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 is “partly admissible.”
The Strasbourg-based court was ruling on January 14, among other issues, whether Russia effectively controlled the Ukrainian territory before the State Duma on March 20, 2014 ratified a treaty that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed as part of the annexation process.
Kyiv insists Moscow controlled the peninsula since February 27, 2014 and that Russian forces tortured and killed police as well as civilians, allegations that Moscow denies.
Other atrocities of which Kyiv accuses Russia include harassment and intimidation of priests and journalists, which the Kremlin also denies.
Both Ukraine and Russia are members of the Council of Europe, of which the court is a part.
The ECHR “has, by a majority, declared the application partly admissible. The decision will be followed by a judgement at a later date,” it said, noting it was not ruling on whether the annexation of Crimea itself was illegal.
“The Court held that it was not called upon in the case to decide whether Crimea’s admission, under Russian law, into Russia had been lawful from the standpoint of international law,” it said.
Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by force has been condemned by the international community.
The court found that Ukraine’s account was “coherent and consistent” with evidence to prove that Russian troops had not been “passive bystanders” but had been actively involved in violations.
It added that “all but a few” of Ukraine’s complaints were admissible, without elaborating.
Ukraine’s Justice Minister Denis Malyuska called the court decision a “victory” and a “powerful legal blow to the mythology used by Russia in the hybrid war.”
The Russian Justice Ministry said that in the course of further proceedings, the country’s legal position would “continue to be based on the criteria, treaties, and practice of international tribunals established by international law.”