Thousands of Ukrainian citizens to sue Kiev regime over human rights violations – Russian activists

A man near a house which was destroyed by shelling by Ukrainian security forces in Oktyabrsky District in Donetsk. (RIA Novosti/Igor Maslov)
Russian human rights groups will soon file about 17,000 lawsuits from Ukrainian citizens in the European court. They seek compensation of about $5.6 billion over numerous rights violations committed by pro-Kiev military during the conflict in Donbass.

The court action is coordinated by the Russian Public Chamber. Activist Georgy Fyodorov, a co-chairman of the chamber’s committee for humanitarian aid to the southeastern regions of Ukraine, said in comments with Izvestia daily that each lawsuit is prepared on behalf a single person or a family whose rights had been infringed.

Fyodorov said that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg had accepted about 400 cases and was considering 500 more. He said that at first the ECHR tried to reject the applications offering “far-fetched excuses,” but stopped doing so after the cases started flowing en masse.

The activist noted that the first process on one of these cases should start before the end of this year.

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The average compensation sought by the Donbass residents from the Kiev government amounts to €300,000 (US$335,000). The total amount of money sought by all plaintiffs could reach €5 billion ($5.58 billion).

The activist said that Russian rights groups had collected materials for 10,000 cases from refugees who fled to the Russian Federation from the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions after the start of Kiev’s military campaign. Seven thousand more lawsuits were written in southeastern Ukraine, both in the self-proclaimed republics in Donbass and on territories controlled by the Ukrainian government, such as the Kharkov and Odessa Regions.

Lawyer Karina Moskalenko, who works as an advisor to the Presidential Council for Human Rights, said that even if the European Court of Human Rights accepts all the lawsuits, the hearing into the cases can last for many years. Another lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, told Izvestia that the court could unite all cases in one and also noted that the ECHR does not have any fixed terms for consideration of lawsuits and this process can take a very long time.

READ MORE: International human rights bodies confirm Russia’s White Book reports on Ukrainian abuse

In May 2014, the Russian Foreign Ministry prepared and released the so-called ‘White Book’ – a major work describing numerous human rights violations, law abuses, use of torture, inhuman treatment and other crimes committed in Ukraine from the end of November 2013 to the end of March 2014. The report was based on Ukrainian, Russian and some Western media reports as well as eyewitnesses’ accounts and statements made by pro-Kiev officials and their supporters. The White Book has been updated twice since its first release and in December 2014 Russian Foreign Ministry said that the facts described in this document had been confirmed by international rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch.

The war in Ukraine caused about 1 million Ukrainian citizens to flee their homes and seek asylum in Russia that offered the refugees simplified registration and various aid. Due to this situation the Russian Federation became the first nation in the world by the number of asylum applications, according to the annual report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.