On August 22, 2018, the ECtHR decision in the case Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura v. Ukraine, which had been conducted by lawyers of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, came into force. The decision declared the ban on the sale of agricultural land to be in violation of human rights.
The Court concluded that the state failed to find a fair balance between the general interests of society and the plaintiffs’ property rights. “Starting today, Ukrainian landowners wishing to defend their property rights (which are limited as a result of the moratorium) will be able to refer to the ECtHR judgment in their lawsuits,” reads the Court’s report published by the Yevropeyska Pravda (European Truth) website.
Earlier, UHHRU had already made statements that Ukraine should abolish the land moratorium, since it conflicts with the principles of the European Convention, violating the population’s property rights.
From now on, the Cabinet of Ministers must report on the progress of the judgment’s implementation, since Ukrainian legislation recognizes the Court’s case law as a source of law. The decision requires the government to change the legal regulation of the moratorium, because otherwise, complaints against it with the ECtHR will continue, and the money awarded to the plaintiffs will have to be paid from Ukraine’s state budget. Thus, we are waiting for the Ukrainian government to start working on implementing the Court’s decision and will be monitoring this process closely.