97-Year Old Woman Abased on Two Occasions the Supreme Court of Ukraine in the European Court

The European Court found on two occasions the violation of the right to a fair trial in the case of pensioner Mariia Bochan, in particular, due to the arbitrary interpretation of its decisions by the Supreme Court of Ukraine. As a result the State shall pay off Ms Bochan € 10 thousand. Human rights defenders point out: “Bochan vs Ukraine (No2)” is the first decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) with respect to Ukraine. This is an open hint to the national judges and government: “The decision of the European Court shall be abided.”

For the period of more than 10 years Mariia Bochan tried to prove her right to an apartment in a private house occupied by the outside person. The courts of the first and second instance have ruled once and again in her favour, but the Supreme Court has cancelled the same. The woman in despair to elicit the truth in Ukraine filed a statement to Strasbourg.

The European Court found a violation of the applicant's right to a fair trial and awarded her a reimbursement in the amount of € 2000.

 The decision of the European Court was to be the basis for review of the decision in case of Mariia Bochan and a chance to correct errors made by the national judges. But the Supreme Court failed to recognize the error and “bounced” once again the persistent gramma, believing that upended the case.

It is important that among the Supreme Court judges, who were taking the decision, there were many distinguished lawyers of Ukraine, including Yaroslav Romaniuk, the actual President of the Supreme Court, Anatolii Yarema, the Acting President of the Court, Mykola Pshonka, the older brother of the well-known former Prosecutor General and others.

But the old woman decided not to give up and seeking for justice appealed again to the European Court. This time her case was considered by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR, which considers only the most important and high-profile cases.

The decision was again adopted in favour of the old woman. But this time the judges of the European Court quite specifically accused their Ukrainian colleagues from the Supreme Court in distorting the findings of ECHR and disregarding of right to a fair trial. The 97-year old woman should receive the reimbursement, this time ion the amount of €10 thousand.

Literally, the European Court’s decision states that “by its judgment as of March 14, 2008, the Supreme Court grossly misrepresented the findings of the Court stated in its decision as of May 3, 2007”

According to the Program Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Maxim Shcherbatyuk the problem posed by the ECHR decision is extremely relevant, since the Supreme Court is actually trying to interpret on its own the judgments of the European Court. “This leads to the situation, when there are ECHR vs Ukraine judgements, which have never abided. An example of this case is very demonstrative, because it shows the attitude of Ukraine as to abiding the ECHR judgements. It is important that the decision in this case was made by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice, which is another “reminder” for the Ukrainian authorities with respect to fulfilling of its international obligations,” – says Maxim Shcherbatyuk.

The human rights defender is convinced that if the Supreme Court will continue to act in the same manner, then it will be exposed to the withering criticism on the part of the ECHR, as a consequence of which Ukraine may be deprived of not only the constitutional state authority, but tens of thousands of Euros from the state budget for payment of reimbursements to the victims of judges’ actions as well.

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