ECHR rules on Maidan activists' claims against Ukraine / Photo from UNIAN

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled on five lawsuits against the state of Ukraine, which concern numerous abuses of rights during Maidan protests.

The 38 applicants in these five cases are Ukrainian nationals and one applicant is an Armenian national. All of them were present at or played a role in the Maidan protests, according to the ECHR's press release of January 21, 2021.

In particular, the judges considered the cases of Shmorgunov and Others v. Ukraine (applications no. 15367/14 and 13 others), Lutsenko and Verbytskyy v. Ukraine (12482/14 and 39800/14), Kadura and Smaliy v. Ukraine (42753/14 and 43860/14), Dubovtsev and Others v. Ukraine (21429/14 and 9 others), and Vorontsov and Others v. Ukraine (58925/14 and 4 others).

Cases against Ukraine

The cases concerned events around the Maidan protests in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine, including the dispersal of protestors, their detention, the kidnapping of activists and their ill-treatment, and the related proceedings.

Read alsoECHR rules Ukraine's claim against Russia "partially admissible"In particular, the cases relate to multiple violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, multiple violations of Article 5 Paragraphs 1 and 3 (right to liberty and security), multiple violations of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association), a violation of Article 2 (right to life), and a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life).

The applicants had encounters with the police or non-state agents under police control (titushky).

They alleged, among other things, police brutality, a denial of their right to protest, unjustified detention, and even a death in one case.

Court ruling

"The Court found in particular that the authorities had used ill-treatment deliberately, and that the State had been responsible for the murder of one protester. It noted that many of the detention orders had been arbitrary. It considered that the authorities had deliberately tried to disrupt initially peaceful protests, using excessive violence and unlawful detention to achieve that," reads the report.

Overall, it noted that the abuses found appeared to have been a strategy on the part of the authorities. It also found that the investigations into the events had in many instances been ineffective.

"The Court held that Ukraine was to pay some of the applicants the awards in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses set out in the relevant judgments," the document says.

The Court observed that it had found multiple violations of several Articles as a result of how the authorities had conducted themselves during the Maidan protests and the absence to date of an independent and effective mechanism within Ukraine for the investigation of crimes committed by law-enforcement officers and non-State agents. These judgments pointed to a deliberate strategy on the part of the authorities to hinder and put an end to a protest, the conduct of which was initially peaceful, with rapid recourse to excessive force which resulted in, if not contributed to, an escalation of violence, it said.

Crimes of Yanukovych regime amid Maidan protests

  • On February 20, 2014, a mass shooting of protesters took place at the Maidan Square in Kyiv.
  • According to the Health Ministry, on February 18-20, a total of 82 people died (71 Maidan activists and 11 law enforcers), and more than 600 people were injured. According to the UN mission, 98 people died in those days (84 protesters, 13 security officials, and a random person).
  • Activists of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes project say the death toll stood at 107.
  • On February 21, 2014, Euromaidan activists Yuriy Verbytskyy and Ihor Lutsenko were abducted. Verbytskyy was killed after being tortured.