Published: 1 Jan 2020
Annual Report 2019
At the close of 2019, EHRAC received news from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that there had been “satisfactory implementation” of its recommendations to the Georgian Government in a case concerning the prolonged brutalisation of a mother and daughter by their husband and father respectively. CEDAW made its landmark decision in X and Y v Georgia, which was jointly litigated by EHRAC and the Tbilisi-based NGO Article 42, almost five years ago. Since then, EHRAC has been closely scrutinising the process of domestic implementation, engaging with UN representatives, government officials and civil society figures.
The Georgian Government has since taken measures to address gaps in the protection and support available to victims of domestic violence, including by ratifying the Istanbul Convention, harmonising domestic laws with international standards, introducing state-run crisis centres, and mandatory training on domestic violence for judges, judicial candidates, and law enforcement officials. CEDAW’s recommendations on X and Y v Georgia provided a catalyst for these changes.
This success illustrates the ambitious scope and potential of EHRAC’s precedent-setting, strategic human rights litigation, which spans five countries: Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Securing justice for victims of human rights violations is not only about obtaining a positive judgment or decision from an international body, such as the European Court of Human Rights or one of the UN mechanisms, but also about advocating for real and lasting change, and applying pressure on governments to implement judgments.
We have now been conducting international litigation for more than sixteen years, and in that time, we have cultivated strong relationships with over a dozen NGO litigation partners.
Collaboration is key. A major highlight of 2019 was the unveiling of a public online platform of evidence assembled by the Turner Prize-nominated, open-source investigations agency Forensic Architecture, which we commissioned. This cutting-edge evidence has been submitted in a case that we are litigating, with the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group, on behalf of 25 Ukrainian volunteer combatants who fought in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The combatants were captured by the Russian Armed Forces and handed over to separatists who ill-treated them in detention. It is the first time that evidence of this kind has been submitted to the European Court.
We would like to thank all those who supported us in 2019, and all consultants, interns, and staff, past and present, who have helped us across all areas of work. A huge vote of thanks to our funders, whose commitment to EHRAC’s work over many years has been integral to our growth.