The European Court of Human Rights has recently issued a ruling regarding the violation of the human rights of two Georgian men, Levan Mamasakhlisi and Grigol Nanava, in a case that dates back to their arrest and alleged ill-treatment by de-facto Abkhaz authorities in 2001 and 2003 respectively.
The Court found that the men’s arrests and detention had been unlawful and that Mr. Mamasakhlisi had been subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment. Moreover, neither man had received adequate medical treatment or a fair hearing by an independent tribunal.
According to the Court’s decision, Russia, by virtue of its political and economic support for Abkhazia and its dissuasive military involvement, exercised effective control over the territory and therefore had jurisdiction over the matters complained of.
The court concluded that Georgia had no responsibility for the violations, as it had exercised no control over Abkhaz territory at the time. Nonetheless, Georgia had done everything within its power to secure the men’s rights under the Convention.
The judgment highlights the continuing complexity of the conflicts in the region and the importance of upholding human rights standards in such contexts. It is also significant in the context of the recognition of the fact of Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia, and thus of the Russian Federation’s responsibility for human rights in the region.
The Court held that Russia was to pay Mr Mamasakhlisi and Mr Nanava 35,000 euros each regarding non-pecuniary damage and EUR 23,300 jointly regarding costs and expenses.
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