Transparency International Georgia is filing an application with ECHR against Russia to protect property rights of 11 individuals
Transparency International Georgia will be protecting rights of Georgian citizens in the European Court of Human Rights. The application concerns violations of rights of the internally displaced Georgian citizens caused by the Russian aggression during the August 2008 war. The application will be lodged against the Russian Federation.
The application will detail how the creeping occupation following the 2008 war by the Russian troops has violated property rights of citizens of Georgia, viz., the fact that arable lands, houses and other facilities for gainful economic employment have been illegally taken away from them. Citizens of Georgia have been prevented from accessing places of worship and graves of their family members. We believe these actions constitute violations of rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
At the moment we represent 11 citizens of Georgia. According to the official information provided by the Government of Georgia the occupation line crosses 104 villages. If the court grants the application, all citizens, whose rights have been violated by the Russian Federation, will have possibility to benefit from it.
The claim is based on several arguments. We believe that several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights have been violated, viz,:
Article 1of the First Protocol, which stipulates that every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions.
Violation of property rights stems from the effective control exercised by the Russian Federation and South Ossetian de facto government in the territory of the so called South Ossetia. The applicants believe that their properties were destroyed or stolen shortly after they had been forced to leave the occupied territories. Russian officials have repeatedly denied them access to their property, which is a continuing interference with the right to property.
Article VIII of the Convention , which protects the right to respect for private and family life.
All the applicants are connected to to the occupied land in one way or another. Therefore they have established a firm connection with the place of their residence. Therefore, the aggressive policy and ban on access to the private property by the Russian Federation constitutes the violation of Article VIII of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Article XIII of the Convention, which provides the right to an effective remedy
After the occupation of the South Ossetian territory the Russian Federation started to exercise effective control of this area. As a result, there is no legal remedy available for the displaced Georgian citizens. One of the applicants has sought justice with South Ossetian judicial institutions. However, the local remedies have not proved effective.
Transparency International Georgia expresses its profound gratitude to the Foreign Ministry of Georgia for the cooperation and for providing all the information and documents, necessary for the preparation of the application. We would also like thank the Ministry of Defense and the State Security Service for providing information about the settlements in the conflict zone.