Social-security payments in occupied territories: ECHR rules in favour of Ukraine.

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The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of the Government of Ukraine having examined an application over the unlawfulness of the suspension of state budget expenditures on social-security payments in the occupied territories.

“The ECHR ruled in favour of the Government and declared the application No. 33137/16, Kandyba and Others v. Ukraine, inadmissible. Applicants – a group of pensioners living in the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions – went to the administrative courts, challenging the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 595, which approved the "Interim Order for financing budgetary institutions, social-security payments to the population…", Paragraph 2 of which suspended state budget expenditures on social-security payments in the temporarily uncontrolled territory until the control of public authorities is restored over it. The applicants demanded that this provision be declared unlawful and their pension payments be renewed,” Deputy Minister of Justice - Government Commissioner for the European Court of Human Rights Ivan Lishchyna posted on Facebook.

According to him, the administrative courts of three instances partially sustained this claim, declaring Paragraph 2 of the Order invalid on the grounds that the Cabinet of Ministers went beyond its powers by accepting it. However, the courts rejected the requests for renewal of payments as the applicants had addressed improper defendants.

Lishchyna clarified that the applicants addressed many government agencies with a request to renew pension payments on the basis of court decisions but their request was rejected. Later, the applicants filed lawsuits over unlawful inaction of government agencies but the lawsuits were dismissed.

“The applicants complained about a violation of Article 6 of the Convention(right to a fair trial)and Article 1 of the First Protocol(protection of property)in connection with non-enforcement of a court decision in their favour. The ECHR declared the application inadmissible,” the Deputy Minister of Justice said.

“In view of the above, the Court accepts the Government’s arguments that the State could not be reasonably required to enforce a judgment by way of taking actions clearly not envisaged by the court during the adoption of that judgment, and that the applicants could and should, following the ultra vires ruling, have initiated separate proceedings against the appropriate defendants to assert their rights. Moreover, it does not appear from the circumstances of the case, nor is it argued by the applicants that institution of the separate proceedings would constitute additional burden on them, in particular, in view of the complexity of the situation,” Lishchyna quotes the ECHR’s decision.

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