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Council of Europe to use no sanctions against Russia in Yukos case

October 22, 2015, 13:42 UTC+3
The ECHR ruled on July 31, 2014 to award over €1.866 billion in compensation payments to former Yukos shareholders under their complaint filed against Russia
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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

ST. PETERSBURG. October 22. /TASS/. The Council of Europe does not intend to apply any measures against Russia for its refusal to fulfil the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR on Yukos oil company, a Council of Europe official said on Thursday.

Council of Europe General Director for Human Rights and Rule of Law Philippe Boillat said there was no talk about the institution of a procedure over the breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Boillat also said he hoped for constructive dialog with Russia.

The ECHR ruled on July 31, 2014 to award over €1.866 billion in compensation payments to former Yukos shareholders under their complaint filed against Russia.

The ECHR concluded that Russian courts had breached article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights stipulating the right to a fair trial when they had examined Yukos taxation issues in the early 2000s because the company had not been given enough time to prepare for its defense.

The court also obliged Russia to pay €300,000 to former Yukos shareholders as compensation for their judicial expenses.

Russia was expected to submit a plan of action to the Council of Europe before June 15 on compensation payments to former Yukos shareholders but refused to do so.

Deputy Justice Minister Georgy Matyushkin said on July 10 Russia’s further steps in executing an additional resolution of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of ex-Yukos shareholders would be based on the Russian Constitutional Court’s legal position,.

Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled in mid-July that the ECHR’s rulings could be enforced in Russia, only if they didn’t contradict the country’s Fundamental Law.

An ECHR ruling that is passed under a complaint against Russia and contradicts the Russian Constitution "cannot be fulfilled," a Constitutional Court official said.

Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said earlier on Thursday the Justice Ministry was ready to initiate an inquiry with the Constitutional Court over the interpretation of the ruling passed by the European Court of Human Rights on Yukos oil company.

"I believe we can’t do without this. We’re ready to initiate this inquiry," he said.

Russia’s justice minister said in March the execution of the ECHR’s ruling on paying 1.8 billion euros in compensation to former Yukos shareholders was not binding for Russia.

"The procedure of challenging [the court’s ruling] has been completed. From the ECHR’s viewpoint, the process is over and the talk is now about executing the decision. As for how to execute it, only the procedure for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is prescribed to monitor the execution of the decision," the justice minister said, adding Russia was denied a review of the case.

"There are no tight timeframes there. They will recommend executing it and remind of the need to carry it through. But no sanctions are stipulated. That is why, this is a free will of a state," the justice minister said.

Yukos case

Yukos oil giant was accused of tax crimes and declared a bankrupt by a Russian court ruling in 2006 while its assets were sold at auctions during the liquidation procedure.

Yukos former head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in May 2005 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

While serving their prison term, both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in a second criminal case in December 2010 and sentenced to 14 years in prison, with account taken of the jail term they had served.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and left the prison in December 2013. Lebedev was released from the jail in early 2014.

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