20 million UAH in 2020 and 114 million UAH in 2021 were included in the state budget to pay compensation to people whose property was destroyed as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Among those who have been compensated are nine clients of the Right to Protection CF.
Decisions on the compensation payments are made by specially created commissions. They include representatives of the regional state administration and non-governmental organizations. Eight meetings of such commissions took place in December: three in Luhansk oblast and five in Donetsk oblast. According to the results of these meetings, compensation was approved in 33 cases in Luhansk region and 47 in Donetsk region.
The biggest obstacle to obtain compensation was the problem with ownership documents. Many people required legal consultation on this matter. In addition, in order to receive compensation, a person must relinquish ownership of the destroyed housing, while victims often did not want to do so due to their distrust of state institutions, which resulted in refusal to participate in the compensation procedure.
In order to monitor the work of local commissions, collect and transmit data to the regional housing and community services department and to the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, control bodies are established at the level of district councils, such as the Volnovakha Regional State Administration. District commissions provide assistance to regional and national authorities only if the latter do not have the opportunity to apply to local commissions.
For security reasons, the commissions were unable to visit some districts of Pivdenny, Marinka, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodyany, Pisky, Taramchuk and Berezovo, Donetsk region, as well as some districts of Zolote-4, Luhansk region, to inspect the destroyed housing. In some cases, such as Marinka, the Joint Forces Operations (JFO) management refused to allow the inspection, while in other cases, such as Berezovo, a decision by the Joint Forces Commander is still awaited.
In December, lawyers of the Right to Protection CF worked on 49 court cases concerning access to adequate housing, land, and property. 7 cases were positively resolved by the courts of first instance and one case – negatively, 7 positive decisions came into force. In one (previously negative – ed. note) case, after successful review in the Court of Appeal it also entered into force. Another 36 cases are still being heard in the courts of first instance, 4 cases – in the courts of appeal.
In addition to this, in December 2020, the team of R2P accompanied 54 strategic lawsuits: 39 cases of compensation for destroyed and damaged housing in national courts, 14 cases in the ECtHR and one case for compensation for a house that was destroyed in fires.
33 cases were heard in the courts of first instance and one decision was in favor of our beneficiary. Courts of first instance considered two more cases on enforcement of decisions by the Court of Appeal on the compensation for destroyed housing. Three cases were heard in the Courts of Appeal, and two of them were upheld. 2 cases are being considered by the Supreme Court. Another 14 cases are considered in the European Court of Human Rights. In nine of them, the complaints were based on the fact that the partial compensation (UAH 30,000 – 100,000) awarded by the Supreme Court was inadequate and that the domestic courts had not protected the plaintiff’s property rights. Three cases were initiated regarding the lack of access to property in the temporarily occupied territory.