Ukraine to pay refugee from Russian Federation 6 thousand euro in moral compensation

On 5 July 2011 the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgement confirming the amicable agreement between Lema Susarov and Ukraine.
According to the judgement in the Case of Susarov v. Ukraine, Chechen Lema Susarov withdrew his claim against Ukraine, while the Ukrainian Government agreed to pay him 6 thousand euro in moral compensation.

In deciding to accept the amicable agreement, the Applicant bore in mind first and foremost that the Kyiv District Administrative Court had on 2 July 2008 found unlawful and revoked the decision by the Prosecutor General’s Office from 27 July 2007 to extradite him to the Russian Federation. On that same day Lema Susarov was released from custody and very soon left for an EU country which had offered him asylum from persecution by the Russian authorities.


Despite the fact that the national remedies for legal defence in the Susarov case proved effective and a Ukrainian court had been able to issue what can without exaggeration be called a precedent-making ruling, this whole case leaves only a bad taste in the mouth and it is the Ukrainian taxpayers who are left paying a considerable amount in compensation.

As reported, at the end of 2005 Lema Susarov fled from the Chechen Republic to Azerbaijan, In 2006 the UNHCR office in Baku declared him a prima facie refugee, issuing him with registration number 6030. Number 6032 was given to Ruslan Yeliyev from the same village. According to Lema Susarov, the two men lived in the same flat. In the evening of 9 November 2006 Ruslan Yeliyev was abducted. Fearing for his life, Lema Susarov fled to Ukraine.


At the end of March this year, a Chechen website “Kavkaz Centre” posted a report saying that the mutilated body of Ruslan Yeliyev had been dropped in a sack from what was believed to have been a Russian helicopter near the village he was from. The Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Republic of Ingushetia declared Lema Susarov wanted. He was accused of an armed robbery of a shop allegedly carried out on 5 February 2004.


On 16 June 2007 Lema Susarov was detained by men in plain clothes who he believes to have been SBU [Security Service] officers. His lawyer, Oleh Levytsky recounts that a bag was placed over his head as they arrested him and he was taken to an unidentified destination. On the way he subjected to beating and threats that he would be handed over to be dealt with by an “FSB [Russian Security Service] major”. He was only taken to a police station that evening, and was held there without any legal grounds until 25 June (instead of the 72 hours as per Ukrainian legislation).


On 20 July the Solomyansky District Court in Kyiv issued an order remanding him in custody and on 27 July the Prosecutor General sanctioned Susarov’s extradition to Russia. On 6 August the Kyiv Court of Appeal passed a ruling to remand him in custody pending the final decision on extradition.


However human rights workers won and the Kyiv District Administrative Court found that the Prosecutor General’s Office decision to extradite Lema Susarov had been unlawful.  The case was supported by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Strategic Litigations Fund.


The Prosecutor General’s Office then revoked its decision and released Susarov from custody.  He was given asylum in Finland.


Lema Susarov was represented both in the Ukrainian courts and at the European Court by Oleh Levytsky, a lawyer working at the UHHRU Public Advice Centre. Considerable efforts on Susarov’s behalf were also made by many civic organizations in Ukraine and abroad. Amnesty Internation, for example, issued an Urgent Action.  During the year that Lema spent in custody, a lot of help was given by the UNHCR Office in Ukraine and by the Human Rights Ombudsperson, Nina Karpachova.

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