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Russia: Court sets December deadline for Sea of Azov answers

Human rights judges are awaiting answers to a series of questions put to the Russian government concerning events in the Sea of Azov.

The European Court of Human Rights put questions to Russian authorities after receiving a new inter-State case from Ukraine.

In a statement published today, the court confirmed: “In response to a request for interim measures in the context of a new inter-State application lodged by the Government of Ukraine against the Russian Federation under Article 33 (Inter-State cases) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Right has put factual questions to the Russian Government to be answered by 3 December 2018.

“The Ukrainian Government submitted an urgent request under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to indicate to the Russian Government an interim measure in the interests of the 24 sailors of the Ukrainian Navy captured in the waters of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018.

“The Ukrainian Government requested in particular that Russia provide urgent medical assistance to the wounded sailors and information about the current state of health of Ukrainian Navy crew members, the place of their detention and all medical assistance that is being provided to them.

“They also requested that the sailors be treated as prisoners of war in accordance with the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and that they be repatriated without delay.

“The Court put the following questions to the Russian Government: Are the officers and men of the Ukrainian naval vessels Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yany Kapu
deprived of their liberty? If so, on what ground and where are they being held?

“Can it be confirmed that there are wounded among the officers and men of the three
Ukrainian naval vessels? If so, who are they, what are their injuries and what medical
treatment have they received?

“Lastly, it invited the Russian Government ‘to submit all relevant documents.’

The European Court’s examination of the request for an interim measure has been adjourned pending receipt of the Russian Government’s reply.

Under Rule 39 the Court may indicate to the parties any interim measure which it considers should be adopted in the interests of the parties or of the proper conduct of the proceedings before it.”

The inter-State application was lodged on 29 November 2018 and has been registered under application no. 55855/18, Ukraine v. Russia (VIII).

According to the court, there are currently four other Ukraine v. Russia inter-State applications pending before the human rights institution and over 4,000 individual applications apparently related to the events in Crimea or the hostilities in Eastern Ukraine.

 

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