Several groups of lawyers from Russia and areas of eastern Ukraine held by Moscow-backed separatists have flooded the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) with thousands of complaints against Kyiv for alleged rights violations in the conflict-ridden Donbas. An investigation by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service has shown that it looks like a coordinated campaign to tar Ukraine.
The investigative TV program Skhemy (Schemes) found that around 6,000 claims related to the conflict in the Donbas, out of a total of 10,000 claims Ukraine faces at the ECHR, were filed by several groups of lawyers from Russia and areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine that are under the control of the separatists.
A Moscow law firm that has filed thousands of complaints has substantial experience "defending the interests" of the Russian government, and a lawyer in the Donbas who has also filed claims is under investigation on suspicion of falsifying application forms to international courts.
The number of cases that will ultimately be considered by the Strasbourg-based court, let alone brought to trial, is unclear. Still, the sheer number of filings has bumped Ukraine up to third among nations facing allegations of human rights violations at the ECHR.