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Russia to respond to complaint about Crimea at ECHR

February 26, 2016, 17:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"We strongly feel that we did not violate any laws — neither Russian nor international. And our response is being drafted in this context," the Russian justice minister says

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Russia's Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov

Russia's Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov

© Mikhail Dzhaparidze/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russia will respond to a complaint filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about the country’s reunification with Crimea but regards the court as not the right place for inter-state disputes, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told reporters on Friday.

"Certainly, the retaliatory steps include a letter of revocation to the complaint communicated by the European Court, which we are drafting. It is an inter-state complaint," Konovalov said.

"So we are preparing the challenge in a usual routine mode, implying fact-finding among a wide range of organizations and agencies," he said.

"The Russian Federation considers the format of an inter-state complaint as very delicate and believes that inter-state complaints should not be filed with ECHR as it was established as a body protecting individuals, citizens of legal entities from certain forms of the state pressure," the minister said.

"However, quite naturally, when we are being challenged with such complaints — as with Georgia, we work out our legal position and present it," Konovalov said.

"But anyway, our position has been formulated — with the ECHR participation or without such," he said. "As for Crimea, we strongly feel that we did not violate any laws — neither Russian nor international. And our response is being drafted in this context," the Russian justice minister said.

Crimea, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

On March 11, 2014 Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol’s city council adopted a declaration announcing independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, including the Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol. On March 16 more than 82% of the electorate took part in the referendum, when 96.77% in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia.

On March 18, the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia was signed.

Results of the referendum were celebrated by many Crimeans but the vote was widely criticized by Western leaders and at the United Nations that alongside Ukraine refused to recognize the referendum was legitimate.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean region, along with Sevastopol, to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

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