Russia must pay €164,500 to Georgians unlawfully deported in 2006

Published: 26 Mar 2019

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Imagine moving to a country and living there for over a decade. You have a valid work visa and a job. Following a breakdown in diplomatic relations between your native country and your current home, you find yourself arrested and detained, fined and deported within a few days. Your life has been turned upside down.

This is precisely what happened to many Georgians who had been living and working in Russia. In 2006, severe diplomatic tensions between Russia and Georgia led to Georgians in Russia being subjected to identity checks, before being arrested, detained and summarily expelled. EHRAC and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (Tbilisi) represented eleven Georgians before the European Court of Human Rights. In December 2016, the Court found Russia responsible not only for collective expulsion of some of the group, but also that their arrests and detentions were arbitrary, the conditions of their detentions amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, and they had no access to an effective remedy. The Court made similar findings with regard to six other Georgians expelled from Russia.

Today the Court ordered Russia to pay fifteen applicants a total of €164,500.

These cases established a plethora of human rights violations arising directly from the Russian authorities’ policy decision to arrest, detain and expel Georgian nationals en masse. The Court’s judgment underscored the point that collective expulsions can never be justified. It is right that the Court has now awarded damages to the applicants, in view of Russia’s unlawful and egregious actions in these cases.” 

Prof. Philip Leach, EHRAC Director

On 20 December 2016, the European Court delivered three judgments regarding Georgians expelled from Russia between September 2006 and January 2007: Berdzenishvili and others v Russia (of which our case, Chokheli and others v Russia, was part), Dzidzava v Russia and Shioshvili and others v Russia. EHRAC and GYLA also represented the applicant in Dzidzava v Russia.

Read more about the 2016 judgment on the merits in Chokheli and Dzidzava.

Other relevant cases

The judgment in this case follows the Grand Chamber’s decision on just satisfaction in Georgia v Russia (I) on 31 January 2019. In the inter-state case, brought by the Georgian Government against Russia with regard to the 2006 collective expulsion of Georgian citizens, the Court ordered Russia to pay €10 million to a group of at least 1500 Georgians, with:

  • €2,000 payable to those who had been victims of a violation of the prohibition on collective expulsion of aliens (Article 4 of Protocol No. 4) alone;
  • an amount ranging from €10,000 to €15,000 to victims of violations of the right to liberty (Article 5§1) and the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3), depending on the length of detention.

How was the compensation awarded in Chokheli?

Determining the awards to be made in the applicants’ cases, the Court applied the principles decided by the Grand Chamber in the inter-state case. It awarded between €10,000 and €15,000 to the victims, depending on the individual circumstances of their cases and, therefore, the violations which it had found in its 2016 judgment.

Read analysis of how the Court awards damages.

Applicant’s name Violation(s) found in December 2016 judgment Length of detention Amount awarded
Irina Chokheli

Article 4 Protocol 4

Article 3

Article 5 §§ 1 and 4

Article 13

6 days 12,500
Levan and Koba Kobaidze 17 days 15,000 each
David Latsabidze 5 days 12,500
Irina Kalandia 4 days 12,500
Kakha Tsikhistavi 8 days 12,500
Koba Nora (deceased, succeeded by Tato Norakidze) 1 day 10,000
Khatuna Dzadzamia 6 days 12,500

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