Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court will decide in the case on the compensation for civilian casualties

December 23, 2020

Since 2017, the legal team of the Right to Protection CF has been accompanying 36 lawsuits to protect the rights of injured persons or persons who have lost close relatives. 8 cases out of these have already successfully passed the appellate stage and are before the Supreme Court of Ukraine, as the defendant (the state of Ukraine), contrary to the norms of international and national law, does not agree to pay compensation to such persons.  

As of July 31, 2020, at least 3,367 civilians had been killed in more than six years of armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, including non-combatants (according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Report on Human Rights Situation in Ukraine for the period 16.02.2020-31.07.2020).

Not only the soldiers who defended Ukraine were killed throughout the 7 years of conflict in eastern Ukraine. There were also civilians who found themselves "in the wrong place" and "at the wrong time". And Ukraine should take responsibility for the lives of its citizens. Why - read in this material.

As we wrote earlier, one case on the compensation for civilian casualties was won by the lawyers of the Right to Protection in the Kharkiv Court of Appeal. From now on, this case will be heard by the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court.

On March 12, 2015, during an anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the village of Krasny Partizan in Yasynuvata district of the Donetsk region, Alla D. was blown on mine in a car with another passenger. Only civilians were in this car. They moved from the area of ​​active conflict. The woman's son, Olexandr D., learned of his mother's death over the phone. Despite the risks to personal safety, he went to organize his mother's funeral.

More than 5 years have passed now, but the loss of mother for Olexandr is lifelong and irreparable. This led to significant negative changes in his life and deeply traumatized his personality. He did not receive any compensation for moral damage from the state.With the help of the lawyers of the Right to Protection CF Olexandr filled in the lawsuit against the State of Ukraine for the compensation of moral damage caused by the terrorist act that led to the death of his mother.

The decision of the Kharkiv District Court of the Kharkiv Region of April 24, 2019 was in favor of Oleksandr and ordered the government to pay UAH 300,000 from the State Budget of Ukraine in compensation for non-pecuniary damage.

On the 30.07.2019 the Kharkiv Court of Appeal changed the decision of the first instance court regarding the amount of compensation for non-pecuniary damage and changed it to the amount of UAH 500,000 to be paid in favor of Oleksandr. Expectedly, the Government of Ukraine filed a cassation appeal, which was accepted by the Supreme Court.

Following the amendments to the procedural law that came into force in 2017, the Supreme Court has the right to pass some of the received cases to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, in particular, for the formation of a unified law enforcement practice. This usually happens in cases that are complex and ambiguous due to conflicting legislation or the absence of such. If the Grand Chamber decides in such case, its conclusions will be binding on all such cases, i.e. a kind of legal precedent will be created to be applied by all courts of Ukraine. This will allow both plaintiffs and the state to understand the prospects of such cases, and the courts - to understand the prospects of reviewing their decisions in such cases, which will significantly speed up their consideration and minimize the number of judicial errors.

By a decision of 18 November 2020, the Supreme Court exercised this right and remitted case №640 / 20038/19 referred to in the article to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case on 25 November 2020.  The trial (unfortunately, without summoning the parties) was conducted on December 22, 2020.  We will learn about the results of the case next year.

Right to Protection CF hopes for a speedy hearings of the case and the Court's decision, that will not only help the victims receive fair compensation, but will also encourage the state to develop an administrative procedure for obtaining compensation without overloading the courts.

Oleh Tarasenko,

Lawyer, Senior Strategic Lawyer of the Right to Protection CF

Olena Prikhodko,

Lawyer, Head of the Kharkiv Regional Office of the Right to Protection CF