Why is it worth filing a lawsuit now, without waiting for victory?
30 January 2023
Ukrainian first-instance courts have issued at least 8 decisions regarding compensation for the damage caused by the military aggression of the Russian Federation. The largest claim reaches 154 million UAH. In total, the aggressor country has been ordered to compensate Ukrainians for damages in excess of 173 million UAH.
As of the beginning of 2023, 209 cases regarding compensation by Russia for property and moral damage are under consideration by national courts and Ukrainian companies. According to data from the “Baboushka” service, citizens who lost their property as a result of armed aggression and military operations are more likely to turn to the courts.
Only 55 cases of compensation for damages by the aggressor state have been filed by business. Instead, according to the research of the experts of the "Russia Will Pay" project of the KSE Institute, at least 109 large and medium-sized enterprises suffered direct losses as a result of the full-scale invasion of Russia by the end of 2022. The damage is previously estimated at $13 billion.
Most of the cases submitted on appeal were under consideration of the first instances prior to the full-scale invasion and the claims in them were unsatisfied. Instead, almost all claims submitted after February 24, 2022, are satisfied in full - provided that the size of the incurred material losses and moral damages has been proven.
"The situation with material losses is more or less standard. It is necessary to prove the ownership of property, the fact of causing harm, its size, provide evidence that the harm was caused by the Russian Federation. Moral harm is assessed subjectively. It is necessary to clearly justify and confirm the existence of moral suffering as a result of specific actions of the Russian Federation. Claimants are exempt from paying court fees in this category of court cases,"
— comments Sayenko Kharenko legal practice advisor Oleksiy Koltok.
On September 16, 2022, the Russian Federation is no longer a party to the Convention on the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, so filing a complaint against the aggressor country to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is currently impossible. At the same time, almost no Russian assets remain in Ukraine, so such decisions may be executed in foreign jurisdictions.
Usually, for the execution of court decisions in foreign jurisdictions, the country against which the claim has been made must give its consent. Obviously, in the case of armed aggression by the Russian Federation, such consent should not be expected. Such claims became possible because since 2014, the Russian Federation has no judicial immunity. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in the Constitutional Court decision of the SC of April 14, 2022 in case No. 308/9708/19.
When the mechanism starts working, it is important not to waste time on court procedures in Ukraine, since competition will arise regarding Russian assets, and it is better to act immediately and quickly to enforce the decision in a foreign jurisdiction.
Oleksiy Koltok advises to turn to national courts for compensation of damages from the RF already now for several reasons:
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