Ukraine wants Latvia as proxy at human rights court

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Ukraine will officially request the Latvian government’s involvement as a third party in three cases being brought against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Ukraine’s Justice Ministry announced Monday.

The announcement came following Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko’s meeting with an official delegation from Latvia led by Justice Minister Gaidis Bērziņš.

“This is very important to us as a serious political message that Europe and the European Union won’t leave us all alone to face Russia, including in these court trials,” Petrenko said.

Bērziņš on his part said he sees no obstacle to Latvia’s participation in these judicial processes.

The ECHR is currently considering three cases brought by Ukraine against Russia – opposing the annexation of Crimea; seeking justice for the kidnapping of children; and to protest Russia’s ban against Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev entering his Crimean homeland.

Former chief Jemilev and current leader Refat Chubarov of the Tatar legislative assembly known as the Mejlis visited Latvia August 22 to meet with Saeima members and tell of the difficult situation being endured by Crimea's Tatars since Russia's annexation of their pensinsular homeland this March.

The Latvian justice minister said he would meet with Foreign Affairs minister Edgars Rinkevics to discuss Latvia’s chance to help fight for the observance of human rights in Ukraine.

“This is our obligation, not just as an EU member-state and Ukrainian neighbor, but as defenders of rule-of-law not to permit the humiliation, discrimination and genocide that Russia is realizing through its illegal warfare against the people of Ukraine,” he affirmed.

However, government representative Kristīne Līce, who speaks officially for Latvia at the ECHR, told LETA Tuesday that Ukraine has not yet formally lodged the written request that Latvia stand for Ukraine there as a third party in its cases against Russia.

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