On January 25, 2023, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) announced a decision on the admissibility of the interstate lawsuits “Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia”, applications Nos. 8019/16, 43800/14, 28525/20, and thus cleared the way for the trial on the merits.
The text of the decision mentions InformNapalm on several occasions, cites InformNapalm investigations and reports, as well as notes the following:
“NGO and research collective reports are undoubtedly elements which can be taken into account by the Court. Where it is satisfied as to the experience and reputation of report authors and the credibility of the sources of the information in the reports, the Court may choose to accord them substantial weight. Having regard to their backgrounds and to the methodologies presented in the reports summarised in the Annex (A 2108 548), the Court is of the view that the authors of those reports, which include the Atlantic Council, Bellingcat, and InformNapalm, are credible and serious. There are, therefore, no grounds upon which to reject the evidence of these reports as a category of evidence.“
The Court also notes that the videos and images analyzed in reports regarding the downing of flight MH17 have often been verified and corroborated by the JIT investigation. [Editor’s note: JIT is the duly authorized International Joint Investigation Team officially conducting an investigation into the crash of flight MH17). Only specific arguments and convincing evidence could compel the Court to consider whether such evidence is indeed reliable and authentic (see paragraph 467 above). “It is also noteworthy that the Bellingcat and InformNapalm reports are largely consistent with the later conclusions of the JIT which, as noted above, reached its conclusions on the basis of its own methodologies and analysis. As noted above (see paragraph 464), the consistency of the JIT’s conclusions with the findings of the research collectives would tend to lend support to the credibility of these findings and the methodologies followed.”
The court also refers to materials based on the email correspondence of Vladislav Surkov’s office, which was hacked by the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance. The hacktivists handed over all the retrieved information to InformNapalm for further investigation.
In 2016, we made the mailing dumps public. This event was widely covered by Western media. We called this case #SurkovLeaks. The materials based on the retrieved dump were published on our website in many languages.
“…the Court notes that the report set out in detail the reasons for which its author concluded that the leaked emails linked to Mr Surkov were genuine…”
“…the Court is convinced that the details from the emails referred to in the report can be relied upon.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, commenting on the court’s decision on Twitter, noted that this is an “important milestone” and “a clear signal for Russia.”
“The European Court of Human Rights has confirmed Russia’s involvement in the downing of flight MH17. An important milestone and the first time that an international court has ruled on this matter. This is a clear signal from Russia.”
As Deputy Minister of Justice Irina Mudra notes, the decision of the ECHR will facilitate the following:
- “Hold Russia to account for the acts that led to massive human rights violations in the east of Ukraine and prevent these violations as much as possible.
- Support individual lawsuits of citizens and companies against Russia both in the ECHR and in investment arbitrations and will be the basis on which individual cases, arbitrations will move forward, so that applicants could exact compensation from Russia for violation of the law.
- Become an instrument for further negotiations with the Russian Federation (when we have an adequate counterpart and substance to discuss), and with our international partners. Such decisions can be used for diplomatic pressure on Russia, the imposition of additional sanctions at various levels, as well as proving the responsibility of the Russian Federation for human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territories.
- Working at the ECHR is a very painstaking, large-scale operation to collect evidence. I am very grateful to Margarita Sokorenko (Commissioner for the for ECHR affairs) for her daily support and coordination of the implementation of ECtHR decisions in Ukraine, for the formation of powerful and compelling positions in interstate cases.”
“As of January 23, 2022, there are 5 interstate applications Ukraine v. Russia under consideration of the ECtHR:
- “Ukraine v. Russia (re Crimea)” on applications Nos. 20958/14 and 38334/18 on violations of human rights in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
- “Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia”, in the case on human rights violations in the occupied territories of the Donbas, which includes the application on the downing of the Malaysian flight MH-17, which were jointly filed by Ukraine and the Netherlands; applications Nos. 8019/16, 43800/14, 28525/20;
- “Ukraine v. Russia” on application No. 10691/21 about the assassination operations against perceived opponents of the Russian Federation;
- “Ukraine v. Russia” in the case on the capture of Ukrainian sailors and vessels in the Kerch Strait in 2018, application No. 55855/18.
- “Ukraine v. Russia” in the case on the crimes of the Russian military during a full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine, application No. 11055/22.
The InformNapalm website contains materials on all these cases and they are fully consistent with the objectives of InformNapalm:
Collecting evidence that confirms the participation of Russian government officials and public figures in planning subversive operations and waging wars in other countries Exposing the facts of Russia’s illegal weapon and military equipment exports Identification of participants in the aggression against Georgia. Collection of materials about the operations of the Russian Federation in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the Middle East.
Regarding the case of the capture of Ukrainian sailors and vessels in the Kerch Strait in 2018, InformNapalm has an investigation, which can be found under this link.
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