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Georgia v. Russia (Eur. Ct. H.R.)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 May 2020

Milena Sterio*
Milena Sterio is the Charles R. Emrick Jr. – Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


In a January 31, 2019 decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, or Court) held that Russia, the respondent state, should pay Georgia, the applicant state, 10 million euros as just satisfaction for violations committed by Russia against Georgian nationals; these violations had previously been established in the Court's main judgment in 2014 (Georgia v. Russia). The Court also held that Georgia should distribute this amount to approximately fifteen hundred Georgian victims, which had been identified in the Court's main judgment in 2014. In this important decision, the ECtHR continued to build on its recent case law, in holding that just satisfaction, in the form of monetary compensation, was appropriate and available in an interstate dispute.

International Legal Documents
Copyright © 2020 by The American Society of International Law

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1 Georgia v. Russia (I), App. No. 13255/07 (Just Satisfaction), Eur. Ct. H.R. (Jan. 31, 2019); Georgia v. Russia (I), App. No. 13255/07 (Merits), Eur. Ct. H.R. (July 3, 2014).

2 Georgia v. Russia (Just Satisfaction), supra note 1.

3 Georgia v. Russia (Merits), supra note 1 paras. 135, 240.

4 Id. ¶ 240.

5 Yulia Ioffe, Case of Georgia v. Russia (I) (Just Satisfaction), 113 Am. J. Int'l L. 581, 582 (2019).

6 “If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.” European Convention on Human Rights, Art. 41, Nov. 4, 1950, 213 U.N.T.S. 221 [hereinafter ECHR].

7 Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, Compensation for victims in inter-state cases. Is Georgia v Russia (I) another step forward? Strasbourg Observers, Feb. 14, 2019,

8 Cyprus v. Turkey (IV), App. No. 25781/94 (Just Satisfaction), Eur. Ct. H.R. (May 12, 2014).

9 eorgia v. Russia (Just Satisfaction), supra note 1, ¶ 20.

10 Id. ¶ 22.

11 Id. ¶ 27.

12 Id. ¶ 28.

13 Ioffe, supra note 5, p. 583.

14 Georgia v. Russia (Just Satisfaction), supra note 1, para. 62.

15 Id. ¶ 71. It should be noted that the Court emphasized that Russia did not fully cooperate and did not produce the relevant documents toward determining the specific number of victims entitled to compensation. Id. ¶ 62.

16 Id. ¶ 72.

17 Ioffe, supra note 5, p. 584.

18 Georgia v. Russia (Just Satisfaction), supra note 1, ¶ 69.

19 Id. ¶ 73. According to the Court, awards for non-pecuniary damage are appropriate if “the impact of the violation may be regarded as being of a nature and degree as to have impinged so significantly on the moral well-being of the applicant as to require something further.” Id. Moreover, the Court emphasized that, “Its guiding principle is equity, which above all involves flexibility and an objective consideration of what is just, fair and reasonable in all the circumstances of the case, including not only the position of the applicant but the overall context in which the breach occurred.” Id.

20 Id.

21 Id. ¶ 74.

22 Id. ¶¶ 76–77, 79.

23 Id. ¶ 79.

24 Dsehtsiarou, Compensation for victims in interstate cases.

25 Georgia v. Russia (Just Satisfaction), supra note 1, Partly Concurring Opinion of Judges Yudkivska, Mits, Huseynov and Chanturia, ¶ 4 (“In our view, when calculating the amount of the award under Article 41 of the Convention, the Court should have taken into account the numerical framework appearing in paragraph 135 of the principal judgment.”).

26 Georgia v. Russia (Just Satisfaction), supra note 1, Dissenting Opinion of Judge Dedov (“I regret that the Court did not allow the amount awarded in compensation to be distributed directly by the respondent Government in cooperation with the applicant Government, as should happen in the context of international relations between sovereign States.”).

27 Dzehtsiarou, supra note 7.

28 Id.

29 Id.

30 European Court of Human Rights, Inter-state Applications (Jan. 31, 2019), See also Ioffe, supra note 5, pp. 585–86.