ECHR Rules in Favor of Georgia in 2018 Appeal Against Russia’s “Borderization” Efforts

On April 9, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unanimously ruled in the case of Georgia v. Russia that the ongoing process of “borderization” since 2009 had violated the right to life, the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to liberty, the right to respect for private and family life, the right to protection of property, the right to education, and the right to freedom of movement.

The Georgian Government applied to the ECtHR on August 22, 2018, claiming that after Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the ongoing process of moving the occupation line further into the territory of Georgia increased the cases of illegal detention of Georgian citizens who cross the occupation line, their ill-treatment and even killing. Georgia also claimed that the process is leading to the loss of livelihoods, disrupting families, and hindering education in the Georgian language.

The Court ruled that Georgia’s complaints fell under the concept of “administrative practice” of human rights violations, which means the “repetition of acts incompatible with the Convention” and an element of “official tolerance” by the state, which it found to be established beyond reasonable doubt. The Russian side, which is not a party to the European Convention, didn’t argue or contest the case.

The seven-judge Chamber unanimously ruled “violations of Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Articles 1 (protection of property) and 2 (right to education) of Protocol No. 1 and Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 (freedom of movement) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The Court found that it had sufficient evidence, in particular lists of victims, testimonies, media reports, and international material, to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that the incidents alleged were not isolated and were sufficiently numerous and interconnected to amount to a pattern or system of violations. Moreover, the apparent lack of an effective investigation into the incidents and the general application of the measures to all people concerned proved that such practices had been officially tolerated by the Russian authorities,” – reports ECtHR.

There are three other applications filed by Georgia against Russia and some 200 individual applications against Georgia, Russia, or both, relating to the 2008 war or the subsequent “borderization” process.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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