By sixteen votes to one, the judges of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have ruled that Russia should pay 10 million Euros to Georgia, as stated the organization's message published on the website on Thursday, January 31. This compensation is for moral damage suffered by at least 1.5 thousand Georgians expelled from Russia in 2006. The decision of the Grand Chamber is final and not subject to appeal.
This money should be distributed among the victims. Georgian citizens who were victims of the collective expulsion by Russia which is prohibited by Article 4 of the Protocol 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights must receive 2000 Euros. Those persons who were also victims of paragraph 1 of Article 5 violation (prohibition of unlawful deprivation of liberty) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) should receive between 10 thousand and 15 thousand Euros.
These funds will be distributed by the government of Georgia. To do this, it must create an effective mechanism under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, said the ECHR.
This payment mechanism "undermines the status of the Russian Federation as a member of the Council of Europe, making it similar to the status of the defendant, who pays a fine, which is then distributed at the discretion of the state," states the message of the ECHR judge from Russia, Dmitry Dedov, published on the court’s website. Dedov regrets that the court did not allow Russia to distribute compensation in cooperation with Georgia, as it, in his opinion should happen since the matter is of an intergovernmental nature.
Georgia filed an interstate lawsuit against Russia in March 2007. Its subject was the mass deportation of Georgians from Russia, which followed the detention of several Russians suspected of espionage in Georgia. In June 2009, the court found the claim acceptable. The Grand Chamber of Justice began a lawsuit in July 2012. In 2014, the ECHR established the fact that Russia violated several provisions of the human rights convention. At that time, the issue of compensation was not resolved as the parties were given time to discuss this issue, but they did not come to an agreement.
In July 2015, it became known that the Ministry of Justice of Georgia demanded 70.3 million Euros in compensation, which the ECHR eventually reduced to 10 million Euros. The statement by the Russian Ministry of Justice implies that judges took into account Russian objections when making the decision. “The court accepted the arguments of the Russian authorities and obliged the Georgian side to provide an exhaustive list of persons who may be considered victims. Georgia’s request for the possibility of adding more names later was rejected,” says Russia’s Ministry of Justice report posted on the Ministryt’s website on January 31. In the end, the ECHR reduced the total number of victims to 1.500, although the Georgian side submitted information on 4,634 victims.