Ukraine fails to execute court decisions. Again.

In a case Derkach and Palek v. Ukraine (nos. 34297/02 and 39574/02) violation of article 6 § 1  violation article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention of Protection the Human Rights was acknowledged.  

The applicants, Valentyna Mykolayivna Derkach and Mykola Ivanovych Palek, are Ukrainian nationals, who were born in 1962 and 1957 respectively, and live in Vyshgorod, Ukraine.

They complained, under Articles 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention, about the non-enforcement of judgments given in their favour in 2002 and that they had no effective domestic remedy to recover the debts (salary arrears and compensation) owed to them by their former employer, a State-owned enterprise. They further complained, under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property), that they were prevented from receiving in full the money to which they were entitled.

Noting that the judgments given in favour of the applicants had still not been executed, the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1. The Court did not consider it necessary in the circumstances to rule on the same complaint under Article 13.

The Court further considered that the continuing impossibility for the applicants to obtain execution of their judgments (more than two years so far) constituted an interference with their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

While that interference might be considered justified in part by the prohibition on the export of the contaminated property of the applicants’ former employer from the Chernobyl zone (thus preventing the attachment of the company’s property), in the Court’s opinion, such a measure, undeniably involving the pursuit of a legitimate public interest, did not strike a fair balance between the State’s interests and those of the applicants. In the event, the entire financial burden had fallen on the applicants and the Ukrainian Government had not explained to its satisfaction why funds could not be earmarked for honouring the debts owed to the applicants.

By failing to comply with the judgments given in favour of the applicants, the national authorities had prevented and still prevent the applicants from receiving in full the money to which they were entitled. Accordingly the Court held, unanimously, that there had also been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

The Court awarded the first applicant EUR 1,405.08, and the second applicant EUR 2,380.92 for pecuniary damage. (The judgment is available only in English.)

 Maryana Kulya

Volodymyr Yavorskyy


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