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The consistent appeal against decisions of the authorities violating the freedom of movement in the national courts is a criterium of admissibility of application before the European Court.

The practice of the European Court in cases Bolat v. Russia (Judgment of 05/10/2006; App. No. 14139/03), Nolan and K. v. Russia (Judgement of 12 February 2009; App. No. 2512/04), and in particular, the decision of the Grand Chamber on admissibility Demopoulos and others v. Turkey (Decision of 01/03/2010; Application nos. 46113/99, 3843/02, 13751/02, 13466/03, 10200/04, 14163/04, 19993/04, 21819/04) indicate the need for a consistent appeal against decisions of the authorities before the vertical of judicial instances. The last decision is particularly noteworthy because the applicants called into question the authority of the courts, which were established in the occupied territory of the Northern Cyprus, regarding the review of their complaints to the authorities, but the Court did not agree with their arguments.

Although the Crimean situation has a number of differences from the case of Demopoulos, the recent decision of the European Court on the admissibility of the case Abramyan and Others v. Russia (Decision of 04/06/2015; Application nos. 38951/13, 59611/13) indicates that all the courts up to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation should be exhausted in civil cases. This means that regardless of the status of the courts, fun ctioning in the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, the final decision will be made by the court, the status of which is not called into question.

The situations similar to S. Kadyrov and O. Khomenok constitute the exception. In the case of S. Kadyrov the last judicial instance subject to mandatory exhaustion is the court of second instance. In the case of O. Khomenok effective remedies are not available, because the term for appeal against the ban had expired long before the effect of the ban was extended to the territory of Crimea.

It is worth mentioning that in general, the term for appeal to the European Court starts running from the date of the final decision on the complaint. In the case of O. Khomenok violation can be considered as a lasting violation. The requirement of exhaustion of effective remedies is also required when applying to the UN Human Rights Committee. However, in this case there is no strict deadline for lodging the complaints.

Below is a list of other possible interventions to the freedom of movement, which can take place in the context of the occupation (the list is not exhaustive):

  • denial of access to the territory of Crimea; denial of permission to leave the territory of Crimea;
  • the requirement to obtain permission to enter the territory of the Crimean Peninsula, or exit from this territory;
  • seizure of documents needed to leave the territory of the Crimean Peninsula or for entry to the territory;
  • failure of the state to realize its obligation to establish a mechanism ensuring the right to leave the territory of the Crimean Peninsula in case passport or any other document is lost (for example, in cases when a citizen of Ukraine or a foreigner temporarily arrived in Crimea and lost his passport);
  • change in the conditions of stay of citizens of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons who were in the Crimea at the time of occupation (for example, in relation to Ukrainian citizens who resided in Crimea, but had their place of stay registered in other parts of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons who had a permanent residence permit on the territory of Crimea, issued by the immigration authorities of Ukraine);
  • any control over the stay in Crimea (for example, control of the period of stay);
  • penalties for failure to fulfill the requirements of immigration control;
  • establishment of additional restrictions due to the granting of automatic citizenship of the Russian Federation (for example, it can concern a child whose parents have not filed a statement “about their desire to retain their existing different nationality and (or) nationality of their minor children or remain stateless” and in such a way the child is considered to be a citizen of Russia; the prevention of such a child to enter the mainland of Ukraine in case of objections from the other parent);
  • the requirement of a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation for children aged from 14 to 16 years, without which they can not leave the territory of Crimea.

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