The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said on January 10 that after a failure to receive requested response it decided in December to strike out 1,549 applications, lodged against Georgia following the August war.
1,549 cases against Georgia were from a group of more than 3,300 individual applications filed by residents of breakaway South Ossetia and servicemen of the Russia army, who served as peacekeepers before the outbreak of hostilities in August, 2008.
All dropped cases were represented before the ECHR by three lawyers from Vladikavkaz, Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. ECHR said that having received no response to its request for information, sent on two separate occasions in 2010 to the applicants’ legal representatives, the Court decided to join these 1,549 individual cases and to strike them out from the list of pending cases before the Court.
A similar decision was taken by ECHR in respect of five other applications from the same group of more than 3,300 cases in March, 2010. Those five applications were also represented by the same three Vladikavkaz-based lawyers. One of them, Vladimir Baykulov, told RFE/RL’s Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, in April, that he could not respond to requested information from ECHR because he spoke no English and had no experience of dealing with cases in the Strasbourg-based court.
ECHR said that it asked the three lawyers in April whether they continued representing the other applicants, but received no response; the request was re-sent again in June.
“No response to the above letters has been received from the applicants’ representatives,” ECHR said. “The Court considers that, in the circumstances described above, the applicants in the present cases may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue their applications.”
In the cases lodged against Georgia, applicants claimed violation of their or their close relatives’ right to life, inhuman or degrading treatment, interference with the right to respect for private and family life, damage to property or its destruction, absence of an effective domestic remedy and discrimination on the ground of ethnic origin.