Applying the European Convention on Human Rights to the Conflict in Ukraine
85 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 29, 2016
The ‘annexation’ of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine have resulted in widespread human rights abuses. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention should apply within the territory and to the conflict. However, recent applications to the European Court of Human Rights reveal a great deal of confusion over which State bears responsibility for protecting human rights in different parts of Ukraine. This article seeks to shine a light on this problem presenting a deep analysis of the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence and discussing how it applies to both the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and ‘annexed’ Crimea. It addresses a number of salient issues such as whether either State bears responsibility for the actions of non-state actors and armed groups in Eastern Ukraine and whether the legality of the ‘annexation’ has any bearing on the human rights obligations of each State? The article presents a detailed critique of recent judgments from the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the jurisprudence of the Court has created a bewildering degree of complexity and uncertainty as to the obligations of each State and discussing the practical implications of this uncertainty.
Keywords: human rights, extraterritorial jurisdiction, law of armed conflict, ukraine, right to life, attribution, state responsibility
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