On 1 March 2022, the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR” or “Court”) granted Ukraine’s request for urgent interim measures against The Russian Federation (“Russia”). The Court’s ruling came one day after Ukraine filed an application in respect of “massive human rights violations being committed by the Russian troops in the course of the military aggression against the sovereign territory of Ukraine”. On the same day, the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) announced it would hold public hearings in Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation). The ICJ hearings will take place on 7 and 8 March 2022.
Under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the ECtHR may order any State Party the European Convention on Human Rights (“Convention”) to adopt interim measures. According to ECtHR practice, interim measures can be prescribed by the Court where it is satisfied that there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm. In March 2014, the Court previously granted interim measures in Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia with respect to events in eastern Ukraine.
The Court found that Russia’s military offensive, which commenced on 24 February 2022 in various parts of Ukraine, gave rise to a real and continuing risk of serious violations of Convention rights enjoyed by the civilian population – in particular, Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life). With the aim of preventing such violations, the Court ordered that Russia “refrain from military attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including residential premises, emergency vehicles and other specially protected civilian objects such as schools and hospitals” and “ensure immediately the safety of the medical establishments, personnel and emergency vehicles within the territory under attack or siege by Russian troops”.
To ensure full compliance with the Convention, the Court requested that Russia communicate the measures taken as soon as possible. The Court also gave notice of the interim measures to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The ECtHR’s press release is available here.
The ICJ’s press release is available here.
Fietta’s PIL Update on Ukraine v. Russia is available here.