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Issue №1 The right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose residence

Crimea beyond rules. Issue № 1. The right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose residence

In the XXI century the occupation and illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 has become first after the Second World War largest precedent of massive violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms. As a result of the events which have taken place in February-March 2014, the citizens of Ukraine, who had permanently resided on the territory of the occupied Crimea, have become in a situation of legal incident.

On the one hand, for the Ukraine and the world community the Crimeans are Ukrainian citizens. They are in the legal sphere of Ukrainian legislation, which guarantees its citizens and those who are legally located on the territory of Ukraine, the right of freedom of movement and free choice of place of residence. In addition, after the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, was adopted the legislation that regulates the peculiarities of migration from/to the occupied territory of the peninsula.

The legislation of the Russian Federation also imposes some restrictions for persons who aren’t citizens of the Russian Federation. The Code of Administrative Violations and the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provide for a fine or expulsion for violation the rules of crossing the borders and staying in the Russian Federation. In this sense expulsion means in form of controlled self-departure or forced expulsion from the Russian Federation.

The Federal Constitutional Law of March 21, 2014 № 6-FCL provides that: “citizens of Ukraine and stateless persons, who have permanently resided on the territory of the Republic of Crimea or in the federal significance city Sevastopol, recognized the citizens of the Russian Federation. It is legitimated from the day of taking the Crimea into the Russian Federation and forming new subjects of the Russian Federation. The exceptions of this rule are persons who will declare their desire to retain their own and their minor children citizenship for one month after this day”. According to this law persons who wished to refuse from Russian Federation citizenship, became foreigners on the territory of their state (Crimea is considered as their own territory).

On this matter International law – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Protocol № 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms – guarantees the freedom of movement and choice of residence, as well as the right to return to your country. However, in international normative documents there is no single position what means “one’s own country” – to limit this concept as a country of citizenship or, on the contrary, not to limit it. In this thematic review is given special attention due to the semantic features of international legal documents. It’s about the difference between the semantics of the notions “own country” and “country of citizenship”. It must be taken into account while creating the argumentation line for claiming to international courts.

In specific legal cases attention is paid to the national legislation of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. It regulates the physical movement of people (in space) in part of movement freedom and choosing the place of residence. It doesn’t regulate issues related to the automatic change the legal field of another state (without physical movement of people in space), as in case of occupation or annexation. Those issues are reflected only in the norms and precedents of International Law – in the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Civilian Persons in Time of War and Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory of 09.07.2004.

The review authors emphasized particularly the need to exhaust national resources of effective legal protection before referring to international human rights instances. Therefore, the complex of legal cases explains the grounds, procedure and deadlines for national jurisdictions’ decisions appealing to higher international instances. Also are examples the situations that have become a plot for appealing to the judicial authorities. The key aspects of construction the argumentation for appeals to international judicial authorities are considered using those examples. It is explained the calculation of deadlines for referring to international instances. The time limits are depending on the nature and occurrence characteristics of circumstances, which became the reason for restricting the movement freedom and choosing of residence.

In the sense of the Crimean Peninsula occupation the authors have identified the possible precedents of restricting human rights and freedoms. They are related to:

  • The ban on entry and exit from the territory of the Crimea;
  • The requirement for obtaining an entry permit;
  • The lack of documents (loss or absence of a passport, the requirement to obtain a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation);
  • The control over the staying on the territory of the Crimea;
  • The fines for violation of the rules of the migration legislation of the Russian Federation;
  • The changes of conditions of staying on the territory of the Crimea due to the occupation.

In addition, the compendium contains short analytical summaries of other materials on the theme of application of International Law in protecting the movement freedom and choosing of residence, assessing the judicial practices and national standards, analyzing the legal aspects of protecting the movement freedom rights.

Read the full version of thematic review “Crimea beyond rules. The right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose residence”.

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