During the military operations of 2008 Russia-Georgia August War many peaceful civilians were injured and their fundamental rights were breached. During the war, properties of citizens were looted and destroyed. Individuals were arbitrarily detained, tortured and inhumanly treated. Many civilians were killed during air-bombardments and shootings.
The human rights violations committed by the Russian Federation during the war became the ground to send inter-state application and numerous individual applications against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights.
Inter-state application Georgia vs. Russia (II)
On August 11, 2008, Georgia appealed to the ECtHR to use temporary measures against the Russian Federation. On August 12, 2008, based on the appeal of Georgia, in accordance to the Rule 39 of the Regulations, the Court applied temporary measures and called on the both states to respect and follow the obligations under the Convention. The temporary measures are still active.
On February 6, 2009, Georgia lodged inter-state application against the Russian Federation to ECtHR. The complaint refers to the mass human rights violations committed by Russia on the Georgian territory in August, 2008. Namely they are:
On April 3, 2012, the Court Chamber relinquished its jurisdiction to the Grand Chamber, consequently, the inter-state complaint was relinquished to the Grand Chamber based on the Article 30 of the European Convention, which envisages relinquishment of a case if it raises a serious question affecting the interpretation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto.
In the period of June 6 - June 17, 2016, the delegation of the seven judges of the ECtHR heard the testimonies of the witnesses with regard to the inter-state application. They interrogated 33 witnesses in total: 16 of them were summoned by Georgia, 11 by the Russian Federation and 6 by the Court.
Final verbal hearing of the case was held on May 23, 2018. The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR has not passed verdict over the inter-state appeal so far.
Individual appeals against Russia
In February 2009, the victims of the August War sent individual applications to the ECtHR; few more applications were sent in April 2010. The complaints were lodged against the Russian Federation.
The applications refer to the violation of the rights, which are guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights and they are: right to life (Article 2), prohibition of torture (Article 3), prohibition of slavery and forced labor (Article 4), right to liberty and security (Article 5), right to private and family life (Article 8), right to an effective remedy (Article 13), prohibition of discrimination (Article 14), right to property (Article 1 of the Additional Protocol 1) and freedom of movement (Article 2 of the Additional Protocol 4).
On September 1, 2011, the Strasbourg Court notified the Russian Federation about individual complaints as a respondent state. However, the Court did not request Russia to provide written argumentation.
In accordance to the ECtHR case law, when inter-state and individual applications are lodged over the same case, the Court first examines the inter-state application and only after passing the verdict on it, it will start examination of the individual complaints. With regard to the 2008 August War, inter-state application is also submitted to the ECtHR – Georgia vs Russian Federation and the court has not yet passed verdict on it. After the Strasbourg Courts passes the verdict over the inter-state complaint, it will resume examination of the individual cases.