Oleksandr Yanukovych lodges claim to the European Court of Human Rights

13 October 2015
Author: JHA

This press release is also available in Russian. It can be downloaded as a PDF in English or Russian.

Oleksandr Yanukovych has lodged a claim with the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that Ukraine has repeatedly breached his human rights.

His application asks the Court to declare violations of his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights including the right to peaceful enjoyment of property (Article 1, Protocol 1), his right to a fair trial (Article 6), and his right not to be discriminated against because of his status as the son of President Yanukovych (Article 14).
Joe Hage of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, Mr Yanukovych’s UK lawyer, who has issued the claim, said: “Oleksandr Yanukovych has brought this action now because it is clear that the Ukrainian authorities are intent on unlawfully depriving him of his shareholding in VBR on the basis of his sanctions listing without compensation.

    1. Oleksandr Yanukovych’s right to property has been violated by Ukraine’s de facto expropriation of his 100% shareholding in Vseurkainskyy Bank Rozvytku. In November 2014 the National Bank of Ukraine classified VBR as insolvent despite independent reports of its financial stability, with the result that it was taken out of his control and put into provisional administration. The NBU used the imposition of EU sanctions on Oleksandr Yanukovych as the justification for its actions, but without establishing that those sanctions adversely affected VBR’s solvency. Indeed the Head of the NBU told the Ukraine Parliament that there was no such risk of insolvency. NBU’s move was wholly political with no economic or legal basis. VBR is now to be sold to Ecosipan LLC, an independent third party, under a contract recognised by the Ukrainian courts. No compensation has been paid to Oleksandr Yanukovych, and there is no realistic prospect that any compensation will ever be voluntarily paid by Ukraine.
    2. Oleksandr Yanukovych’s right to an independent and impartial tribunal, to a fair hearing and to reasoned judgments has been breached. The Ukrainian courts are not independent from, or free from the influence of senior state officials and cannot be relied on to act impartially, and do not ensure fair hearings.
    3. Oleksandr Yanukovych’s right to a presumption of innocence has been violated by the numerous public and condemnatory statements made by state officials and prosecutors. Such statements are so broad as to undermine his presumption of innocence in relation to any criminal proceedings.
    4. Oleksandr Yanukovych has been discriminated against because of his status as the son of President Yanukovych, a political opponent of the current Ukrainian government. This is evident from, in particular, the NBU’s decision to expropriate his shareholding in VBR on the false grounds of risk of insolvency, the unfounded criminal proceedings brought against him and the repeated condemnatory statements that have been made by Ukraine’s public officials.

There is also no doubt that Ukrainian prosecution authorities are under huge political pressure to secure convictions and to confiscate the property of Oleksandr Yanukovych without regard to basic human rights, such as the right to a fair trial or even the need to obtain criminal convictions, as is proposed in the current draft special confiscation law being considered by the Ukraine Parliament.”

ENDS

Enquiries to: Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, Tel: +44 (0)2078518888

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