Law
David Takes Down Goliath in Strasbourg Court
10 July, 2014
David Takes Down Goliath in Strasbourg Court
On July 3, at the European Court on Human Rights, the judges delivered a verdict in favor of Georgia. This is the case between two states, namely Russia, which violated 6 articles of Euro-convention on Human Rights against Georgia. More concretely, this is a matter of oppressing Georgians living on the territory of Russian Federation and their massive deportation in 2006. The Georgian side sued Russia on March 26, 2007 in Strasburg Court. Georgian Journal discussed these matters with Amiran
Giguashvili, Director of Politics and Law Center.


G.J: What is the importance of this decision and to what events would you compare it from the perspective of the international law?

A. G: It is a very important decision. This was the first state-to-state dispute that Georgia sued and that ended successfully. Generally speaking, there are quite few state-to-state cases in the history of international law. I can name the dispute between Turkey and Cyprus, which was also successfully settled. There are some individual cases against Russia that have not yet been discussed. However, this particular case will boost their further chances as well. This was the reason why Russia was irritated and the Kremlin declared that this is a provocative decision against Russia, directed to degrade the image of the country. Therefore, the Kremlin and Duma would not accept it, calling it “unjust.”

G.J: The verdict says that Russia is obliged to pay the compensation to Georgia. Will Russia agree to fulfill this duty?

A.G: Depends how active the Georgian government will be. If Russia and Georgia do not manage to solve this issue of compensation during 12 months, then the matter will go into the hands of Ministerial Committee in European Court. Russia will do its best to draw out the process and to refuse paying the compensation in its due time. Then, it will take quite a long time to define the amount of compensation. So, it is very important for Georgia to demand support from our partner European countries on Russia’s agreement on paying the compensation. Georgia should use all international instruments in order to protect the interests of the state. Russia will have to pay a big political and economic fee if it does not meet these terms. It is important how actively Georgia asks for help from the international community and as Russia will not pay a single kopeik (penny) by its own will.

G.J: What precedents do we know in this respect – how has Russia acted in other cases?

A.G: Russia is on the list of the countries with the lowest compliances in terms of meeting the Strasburg Court decisions. However, any country even with a facade pretence to be an European country cannot escape this. Putin, in spite of his dreaming of restoring the Soviet Union, still has such pretence. Georgia, on the other hand, should try its best to follow this path and to show to the European Community the real image of Russia.

G.J: What about the supposed sum of money for the compensation?

A.G: It depends on Georgia’s suit, what is the number of the people to whom the court should pay damages? How well will Georgia manage to convince the judges and how many people receive a compensation, etc, and then, what will be the final decision of the Ministerial Committee in the European Court? But I want to underline that the compensation is not of paramount importance. The main thing is that a tiny state like Georgia won a case against a giant country like Russia and justice has been accomplished! It shows why European values are so important for us – you can be small country and still find your own bit of justice in this unjust world. Russia has carried out a number of ethnic cleansings against Georgia but this is the first case when it will have to pay a due. So Georgians will once again realize the importance of the European court.

G.J: Will it really stop Russia from doing similar things in the future?

A.G: It will. I do not know what the Russian President lacks for becoming Saddam Hussein, but I know that it is another strong blow against the image of Russia as the state.
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