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The Efficacy and Impact of Interim Measures: Ukraine’s Inter-State Application Against Russia

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In 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an international agreement that had been formulated to strengthen political and economic ties between Ukraine and the European Union. A sharp divide between pro-Western and pro-Russian groups arose, and a pattern of protests and violence broke out in Kiev, spreading to the east and resulting in—among other things—the annexation of Crimea by Russia. The apparent role of the Russian government in this conflict led Ukraine to file an inter-state application against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights. Ukraine alleged that Russia was responsible for the violation of Ukrainian nationals’ rights under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The court granted Ukraine’s simultaneous request for interim measures, forbidding either Ukraine or Russia from using military action or from engaging in conduct of any kind that would violate Ukrainian nationals’ Convention rights. Recent events suggest that both states have violated the order, making the interim measures seemingly ineffective. The inter-state application and interim measures are not, however, valueless as they have helped to encourage a more efficient, peaceful resolution.

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