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Too early to say if Russia will pay in Yukos case — justice minister

January 14, 2015, 21:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In Alexander Konovalov's opinion the issue must be evaluated in cooperation with various agencies, starting from the Ministry of Finance
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© ITAR-TASS/Grigory Sysoev

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. It is too early to say if Russia will or will not pay a compensation in the Yukos lawsuit case, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told the media at a forum of the Civic Chamber called the State and Civil Society: Cooperation for Development.

“We will oversimplify the situation, if we assume that some council of wise men will gather and decide if we are to pay or not,” he said.

In his opinion the issue must be evaluated in cooperation with various agencies, starting from the Ministry of Finance.

“Saying right away that we will decide not to pay will be hardly possible. Saying now that we will pay everything tomorrow is impossible for me either,” Konovalov said.

On July 31, 2014 the European Court of Human Rights awarded to former Yukos shareholders more than €1.866 billion in compensation on the basis of a lawsuit against Russia, considered back in 2011. The ECHR ruled that when they considered the issues of Yukos’s taxation in 2000, Russian courts violated Article 6 (right to fair trial) of the European Convention of Human Rights. The ECHR said Yukos had not been given enough time to get ready for for defense.

On December 15 a panel of five ECHR judges refused to take the case of material compensation to former YUKOS shareholders to the ECHR Grand Chamber for consideration. The court ruling in the YUKOS vs Russia case of July 31 took effect.

Russia’s Justice Ministry said about the decision that “further action regarding the ruling would be taken proceeding from the need for ensuring the sovereign rights of Russia and rely on the norms of existing national legislation, including the Constitution, which has the highest legal power in the territory of Russia.”

Konovalov said Russia had been forced to take the ECHR ruling into account. At the same time he added that the ECHR decisions could not be enforced through compulsion, because compliance was a matter of the Council of Europe members’ free will.

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