European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

On 13 March 2014, just three days before the referendum in Crimea took place, the Government of Ukraine lodged an inter-State application against the Russian Federation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Given the urgency, Ukraine also asked for interim measures to prevent threats to the life and health of the civilian population on its territory.

European Court of Human Rights urges Russia to refrain from military action in Ukraine © guru3d / Fotolia

The application was brought under Article 33 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Convention), to which both Russia (since 1995) and Ukraine (since 1996) are party. The inter-State application is a rarely used instrument, under which States party to the Convention may refer an alleged breach of its provisions by another State party to the ECtHR. There have only been about ten inter-State cases to date, as the ECtHR deals mainly with complaints by individuals, and most have been discontinued…

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