The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers have urged Russia once again to rapidly finalize the necessary internal arrangements to pay Georgian deportation victims, recalling Russia had confirmed to use the CoE as an intermediary for the just satisfaction payment together with the default interest accrued.
1. recalling that in its judgment on just satisfaction, of 31 January 2019, the Court held that the respondent State is to pay the applicant government, within three months, EUR 10,000,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1,500 Georgian nationals, and that the applicant government is to set up an effective mechanism for the distribution of the just satisfaction sums to the individual victims of the violations found in the principal judgment while having regard to the indications given by the Court and excluding individuals who cannot be classified as victims; recalling further that the mechanism must be put in place under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers and in accordance with any practical arrangements determined by it in order to facilitate execution and that the distribution must be carried out within 18 months of the date of the payment or within any other time-limit considered appropriate by the Committee of Ministers;
2. recalling that the deadline for payment expired on 30 April 2019 and reiterating their profound concern that no payment has yet been made;
3. reiterating also their insistence on the unconditional obligation to pay the just satisfaction awarded by the Court;
4. stressed that delay in fulfilling this obligation deprives the individual victims of the violations from receiving compensation for the damages suffered by them;
5. recalling further their Interim Resolution, adopted on 3 December 2020 in which they strongly urged the Russian authorities to finalise the consultations without further delay in order to either directly pay the just satisfaction, together with the default interest accrued, to the applicant government or to commit to using the Council of Europe as an intermediary for that payment and their last decision adopted on 9 June 2021 in which they strongly urged anew the Russian authorities, by 6 September 2021, to either directly pay the just satisfaction, together with the default interest accrued, to the applicant government or sign the Memoranda of Understanding to enable the payment of those sums to be made;
6. noting the information concerning the difficulties related to the transfer of power of representation of the interests of the Russian Federation at the European Court; noting nevertheless that further consultations between the Secretariat and the Russian and Georgian authorities took place in August 2021 and that amended draft Memoranda of Understanding to enable payment to take place through a Council of Europe bank account held in escrow were shared with the Russian authorities, as well as the Georgian authorities;
7. noted the Russian authorities’ confirmation that they remain willing to use the Council of Europe as an intermediary for the payment of the just satisfaction together with the default interest accrued but need some additional time to finalise the internal arrangements to do so;
8. underlining again the need to reach concrete results which are in line with the indications given in the judgment, urged the Russian authorities to rapidly finalise the necessary internal arrangements in order to allow the Committee to consider the agreed draft Memoranda of Understanding and authorise the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to receive and hold the just satisfaction, together with the default interest accrued, in a bank account held in escrow;
9. decided to resume consideration to this end, at their 1416th regular meeting on 3 November 2021; and, in the absence of concrete progress by then, instructed the Secretariat to prepare a draft interim resolution to be considered for adoption at their 1419th meeting (30 November- 2 December 2021) (DH)”.