Customs Service Ignores Decision that Cancels the Restrictions on Export of Personal Belongings to the Mainland Ukraine for Crimea Residents

Дата: 26 June 2017
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The Customs Service of Ukraine ignores the decision of court, which renders invalid and illegal the first clause of the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine № 1035 establishing restriction on export of personal belongings to the Mainland Ukraine for Crimea Residents.

The human rights advocates from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union reported the fact of such practice at the press conference in Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.    

The human rights advocates reminded that the above-mentioned resolution, which has been effective since 2016, was intended to restrict the trade relations with the occupied peninsula. However, it also established a number of limitations that caused the violation of ordinary people’s rights to evacuate their personal belongings from Crimea and the violation of the property rights of internally displaced persons impeding their adaptation in the Mainland Ukraine.       

In fact, thousands of Crimea residents were forced to stay on the occupied territory only because of their inability to evacuate their property from the occupied Crimea”, – Darya Svyrydova, lawyer of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, noted.

The lawyer of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union’s Center of Strategic Litigation Yuliya Lisova, who acted as the claimant in the legal action appealing against resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine № 1035, emphasized that this resolution violated not only the proprietary rights, but was also in breach of such rights vested in the Constitution, such as a right to free movement and a right to choose a place of residence. Another right questioned by this resolution was a right to non-discrimination. The lawyer noted that the appeal court passing the decision that rendered the resolution illegal, also referred to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, the Cabinet of Ministers’ resolution was in conflict with.   

However, according to Darya Svyrydova, even after the court decision rendering such restrictions invalid and illegal was passed, the customs service officers continue to impede the citizens crossing the administrative border with personal belongings.  

As explained by Darya Svyrydova, the customs officers simply ignore the court decision stating that they have never heard of it or that their work instructions do not reflect any such changes.      

For such actions, the customs officers may be charged with a criminal offence.

Svyrydova believes that the reason for ignoring the decision of court may as well lie in the corrupted practices that are beneficial and profitable for the customs officers.  

Darya Svyrydova recommends the citizens, whose right to pass the personal belongings through the Crimean border checkpoint was denied, to demand the written refusal and address to the special reception office of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union in Kherson, which provides free legal assistance to the Crimea residents.   

As a reminder, the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal recognized the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine № 1035, which established an exclusive list of personal belongings that Crimean residents could take to the Mainland Ukraine, as illegal and invalid.

In December 2016, Odessa Court of Appeal in its judgment upheld the right of internally displaced persons from Crimea to transport property that is not included in the list, through the checkpoint. However, the illegal nature of such restriction was recognized only in terms of the single claimant.

And in 2017 the Crimea residents continued to face the ban. In particular, a case when a student spent almost two days trying to transport his personal belongings through the Ukrainian checkpoint at the administrative border with Crimea received a huge resonance. In particular, these personal belongings were used microwave oven, used coffee machine, used air grill, used punching tool and used hand drill.  

On February 9, 9 human rights advocating and non-governmental organizations appealed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman with a request to initiate the introduction of amendments to Cabinet of Ministers resolution № 1035, which defines a list of personal property allowed to be transported through checkpoints on the administrative border with Crimea.

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