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Russia pays compensation to deported Georgian citizens

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, March 19
The Russian Federation has compensated citizens affected by collective deportations from Russia in 2006 who have filed individual complaints with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

According to the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), the European Court ruled on individual cases on March 26, 2019. According to the decision, Russia would have to pay different amounts of compensation (ˆ 2,000 and / or ˆ 10,000 to ˆ 15,000) for the victims, including 8 GYLA-protected individuals. The amount of compensation for each applicant was individually determined by the severity, intensity, and duration of the rights violated.

This decision became final on June 26, 2019. The Russian Federation had to pay it within 3 months of its entry into force – the deadline expired on September 26, 2019. As GYLA’s statement reads, until January 2020 year GYLA was actively communicating with Russia and submitted the details of the applicants' bank account and identity documents to the Russian Federation and called on them to enforce the court's decision on time.

As it’s further said in the released statement, on November 19, 2019, GYLA submitted a written communication to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which oversees the enforcement of the European Court's decision. In its communication, the GYLA stated that its clients had not yet received the compensation awarded even though the applicants had provided their data to the relevant Russian authorities.

In addition, the GYLA argued that enforcement of the European Court's judgment and payment of the compensation to the applicants constituted an unconditional obligation of the Russian Federation following Article 46 of the European Convention.

10 days later, GYLA was informed by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation that one applicant would be compensated shortly, with Russia requesting additional documents with regard to the other 7 applicants. GYLA re-submitted the requested documentation to the Russian Ministry of Justice, after which it was informed by the Ministry on January 21st that the money would be transferred to 6 applicants, and additional documents were still required concerning the seventh applicant.

At this stage, the Russian Federation has transferred the compensation to 7 persons protected by GYLA and concerning one applicant, GYLA continues to communicate with the Russian Federation.

In addition to individual cases, Russia was also obliged to pay compensation to citizens affected by collective deport under an interstate complaint. In particular, the European Court ruled on January 31, 2019, Russia was ordered to pay 10 million euros in favor of Georgian citizens. Unfortunately, Russia has not yet paid the sum imposed. The Committee of Ministers assessed the deportation process at a meeting on March 3-5, 2020, and criticized Russia for failing to pay the compensation so far. The Committee of Ministers further explained that requiring certain preconditions (such as submission of a specified list and creating a mechanism on a certain level) by Georgia for the enforcement of the decision was against the ECHR’s decision.