CoE Again Calls on Russia to Pay €10 m Compensation to Georgia

The Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers has for the second time urged Russia to pay €10 million compensation to Georgia for the illegal deportation of Georgians from Russia in 2006.

The CoE request came after the Georgian side asked the CoE on December 3-5, 2019 to again assess the execution of the case of the deported Georgians.

Georgia’s Ministry of Justice reports that, like at the September 2019 meeting, the Committee endorsed the arguments put forward by the Georgian government and called on Russia to compensate Georgia € 10 million.

As Russia had the obligation to pay the compensation before the end of April 2019, but refused to do so, the Committee highlighted that paying the fine is an unconditional obligation and despite the resistance of Russia, it must pay the compensation to the Georgian citizens.

“Further, the Committee of Ministers is concerned that the Russian delegation is attempting to question the sequence of enforcement of the European Court's decision, which primarily involves payment of compensation to Georgia by the Russian Federation,” the Georgian Justice Ministry reports.

The Georgian side notes that the Committee emphasized that non-payment of compensation by Russia was a clear disregard of the obligation stated under Article 46, section 1 of the Convention and called on the Russian Federation to consult with the Committee of Ministers to identify modalities for payment.

“Despite opposition from the Russian Federation, the Committee satisfied Georgia's demand and appointed debates to the case at its next meeting in March 2020,” the Ministry added.

To note, as part of the enforcement of the verdict on the so called Deportation Case, the CoE Committee made its first decision on September 23-25, 2019, endorsing the arguments put forward by the Georgian government and calling on Russia to pay €10 million in immediate compensation to Georgia. According to the decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice on January 31, 2019, this sum should be distributed to at least 1,500 victims of mass deportation and gross human rights violations by the Russian Federation which took place in Autumn 2006 and early 2007.

Those who were victims of collective expulsion will receive €2,000, while €10,000 to €15,000 will go to the victims of unlawful deprivation of liberty and inhuman and degrading conditions of detention.

Between 2006 and 2007, more than 4,600 expulsion orders were issued by Russian authorities against Georgian nationals. Of these, more than 2,300 were detained and forcibly expelled and the remainder left the country by their own means.

The official Russian position was that the Georgian victims had violated Russia’s Immigration Laws and their treatment in custody and expulsion from the country was standard law enforcement.

The mass deportation was preceded by the arrest of four Russian officers on charges of espionage by the previous government of Georgia in September 2006, later that year, large numbers of Georgian nationals were mistreated in Russia.

The European Court of Human Rights started discussions on the case submitted by Georgia against Russia in 2009.

In 2014, the European Court finally ruled against Russia and gave Moscow 12 months to negotiate with Georgia the precise terms of compensation, while in 2015, Georgia officially requested in excess of €70 million for the victims.

Based on the Grand Chamber 31 January 2019 decision, the ECHR ruled that as result of the 2014 verdict, and upon Georgia's 2015 application for damage compensation, Russia has to pay €10 million to Georgia.

The Government of Georgia has called the verdict a “great victory,” however, Russia has not yet fulfilled its obligation, as the deadline for paying the compensation expired on April 30, 2019.

By Tea Mariamidze

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09 December 2019 17:40