Ukrainians displaced by the fighting in the Donbas, by years seeking compensation. But despite the win in the Ukraine courts, reimbursement not yet received one, point defenders.
In the Donbass already six years into the armed conflict between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists from the self-proclaimed “DNR” and “LNR”. According to the Donetsk and Luhansk regional civil-military administrations in the fighting only controlled by the Ukrainian power of the territory was destroyed and damaged more than 20 thousand houses of all forms of ownership. How much of the damaged property on the territory controlled by Pro-Russian separatists, Ukrainian government bodies do not know.
The lawsuit against the Ukrainian state
Repair or partially repaired at the expense of local budgets and funds of international donors was only part of the destroyed housing. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories by the end of summer 2019 on the territory controlled by Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained destroyed or damaged more than 13 thousand private houses, and public housing.
Including the house of spouses Elena and Igor Loadking in the village of Pisky, a few kilometers from Donetsk. In 2015 he was hit by an artillery shell and almost completely destroyed the roof and damaged the walls. “Sands is situated almost on the boundary line. There were fighting. After our house was destroyed, we were forced to move to Kyiv region and start life from scratch, because everything remained in the Sand. Took away with them only the documents,” – says Elena Loshadkin. Together with her husband she had hoped that the state compensate them for damages for destroyed property and will help you settle in a new place.
But the help have not waited, therefore, appealed to the court demanding from the Ukrainian government a compensation of 1 million 800 thousand hryvnias. “We have filed a lawsuit against the state, because at that time the state was called what was happening in the Donbas anti-terrorist operation (ATO). This means that our housing was destroyed by a terrorist act, and on the Ukrainian law on combating terrorism, the government is supposed to protect us. And the court took our side,” he told DW Elena Loshadkin. But after the family won in the courts of two instances, the government filed an appeal, which is not seen for several years.
Complaints to the European court of human rights
The Ukrainian Helsinki Union for human rights (UHHRU) provides legal assistance in 60 cases of Ukrainians seeking compensation for destroyed or damaged housing. “To date, no court decision, which would come into force. Still has not received any real compensation,” says the coordinator of the network of public reception UHHRU Natalia Kozarenko.
In his study of “Violation of property rights in situations of armed conflict in the East of Ukraine and ways of protecting” human rights activists say that the authorities still have not created a registry of destroyed houses, there is also no special law or procedure for obtaining compensation for damaged or destroyed housing.
Therefore, more and more victims filed complaints to the European court of human rights (ECHR) – at the moment there are more than a hundred. “We filed a complaint to the ECHR as the state of Ukraine and Russia. We provide more evidence. Since it is difficult to prove who was shooting and who exactly destroyed the house, we are talking about the responsibility of the two States. The question here is, who will bear the material and who procedural responsibility”, – said the lawyer UHHRU Yulia Naumenko.
With the ECHR human rights activists want to “revive” hung trials in Ukraine and, in the end, to force the state to pay financial compensation to those who lost their homes in the Donbass because of the war.
Compensation mechanism is still not established
According to estimates of the Ministry of reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, the estimated amount of funds required for the reconstruction of destroyed and damaged properties in controlled by the Ukrainian authorities of the territory, is almost three billion hryvnia. But in the state budget of Ukraine for the year 2020 provided only 40 million 200 thousand hryvnias on compensation of damages for damaged property.
However, the mechanism for the payment of these funds still do not exist. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has only developed a draft resolution, which determines the order of benefits, the list of documents that must be submitted to receive reimbursement.
As explained by acting Secretary of state referred to the Ministry of Ioannina Briginets in response to a DW query, the question of monetary compensation will be considered by a special Commission. The amount of compensation will be determined as: the average cost per square meter of housing in the region where the building multiplied by the area of the destroyed housing. The compensation will be only those whose houses were controlled by Ukrainian government of the territory.
“The proposed mechanism will allow Ukraine to fulfill its obligations to protect the constitutional rights of citizens”, – said Yanina Briginets. All funds are paid the Ukrainian government is planning to include in the total amount of losses during the preparation of consolidated claims to Russia to implement its international legal responsibility for armed aggression against Ukraine.
However, neither the victims nor the lawyers to help them sue the state, do not believe that the draft resolution developed by the government in the end will become an official document – after six years of war, this is not the first such project.
In addition, they fear that in a pandemic coronavirus economic crisis, which it will inevitably entail, the Ukrainian government will again forget about compensation for those whose homes were destroyed by the war in the Donbass. So the family Loadking also filed a complaint with the European court of human rights and is awaiting a decision near Kiev in a construction trailer converted into temporary housing.