Russia is making the unprecedented move of bringing a case against the Ukrainian government before Europe's top rights court over a slew of issues including the 2014 Maidan coup, civilian deaths in Donbass, and the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster which killed 298 people. In the latter instance, for example, Russia is charging Kiev for irresponsibly leaving airspace open for civilian travel in the middle of a war zone.
The Russian General Prosecutor's Office will bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Russia's first ever such interstate complaint to the ECHR. On Thursday the prosecutor's office issued a 10-point list of significant grievances against Ukraine to be filed with the ECHR, saying it expects an "unbiased and non-politicized" investigation into the points which address "the responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities for the death of civilians, illegal imprisonment and cruel treatment of people," in Maidan and the later enduring conflict in the Donbass.
"The claim intends to draw the European Court’s and the entire world community’s attention to the gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Ukrainian authorities," the Russian prosecutor's office said further.
Below is the 10-point list as published in The Moscow Times:
- Deaths during riots in Kiev that led to the 2014 ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, as well as civilian deaths in Ukraine’s seven-year war against pro-Russia separatists.
- The deaths of 298 people on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Ukraine’s failure to close airspace over the combat zone. (International investigators say a Russian-made surface-to-air missile shot down Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The Dutch government lodged a rare interstate complaint with the ECHR against Russia last year.)
- The water blockade of Crimea after Russia annexed the peninsula in the wake of Ukraine's 2014 revolution. (Western governments have imposed economic sanctions on Moscow for seizing Crimea, which is still internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory.)
- Loss of life during shelling of Russian border areas, attacks on Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine, discrimination against Russian companies and Russian-speaking Ukrainians, as well as refusal to provide legal assistance for Russia to investigate the alleged crimes.
- Suppressing free speech and persecuting dissidents through bans of mass media and internet platforms, as well as disenfranchising residents of Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.
Some of the above remain ongoing, festering issues on conflict regions particularly along the Ukraine-Russia border.
The Strasbourg-based court rarely sees interstate applications; however, it's caseload has begun to grow over Russia-related issues, given especially Ukraine and Georgia submitted their own over this past year.
But among all pending ECHR cases, about one-quarter are said to be related to 'bad behavior' by Russia. This has led Russian media pundits to hold up this new initiative for justice as a litmus test of sorts for the court's objectivity.