Timeline

view of London

2003

Founded in London Metropolitan University

We set up a partnership with the Russian NGO Memorial Human Rights Centre to litigate cases of egregious human rights abuses arising from the conflict in Chechnya.

2003

First legal clinic held in Russia

We host a three-day legal clinic for Russian human rights NGOs on litigation at the European Court of Human Rights.

2005

First six Chechen judgments

We win our first six joint cases with Memorial HRC before the European Court. The cases concern instances of torture, extra-judicial killings, and the indiscriminate bombings of civilians in Chechnya. The judgments are the first ever decisions from an international human rights body relating to the region.

Tbilisi

2006

Expansion to Georgia

We set up a partnership with the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) to take cases on behalf of ethnic Georgians who were unlawfully detained, tortured, and deported from Russia.

2006

Launch of Legal Skills Development Programme

We invite nine lawyers from Russia, Georgia, Armenia, to participate in our first ever Legal Skills Development Programme (LSDP), held in London.

2009

EHRAC and GYLA lodge first Russia-Georgia conflict cases

Together with GYLA, we lodge a group of cases questioning Russian responsibility in indiscriminate shelling, the destruction and looting of property, and ensuing fatalities during the August 2008 war in Georgia.

2010

Launch of first project in Azerbaijan

We launch our first project litigating freedom of expression cases in Azerbaijan with three partners: Legal Education Society, Media Rights Institute, and Democracy and Human Rights Public Union.

2010

First case from Armenia

EHRAC is approached by the Armenian NGO Legal Guide to advise on the case of Sargsyan v Azerbaijan, in advance of a Grand Chamber hearing at the European Court. The case concerns an Armenian refugee’s inability to return to home and land in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

2013

EHRAC moves to Middlesex University

After ten years at London Metropolitan University, EHRAC finds a new home at the School of Law at Middlesex University.

2013

Justice for Ukrainian Supreme Court Judge

The landmark case of Volkov v Ukraine, which highlights systemic issues relating to judicial accountability, triggers the initiation of widespread constitutional and legislative reform in Ukraine.

2013

EHRAC celebrates 100 judgments

We celebrate our 100th judgment as the Court finds violations in Chilayev v Dzhabayev v Russia, a case taken jointly with Memorial HRC which concerns the abduction of two men in Chechnya in 2006.

2014

Crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan

We respond to new challenges in Azerbaijan, adapting to working with individual lawyers and litigating cases concerning the initiation of criminal proceedings against human rights defenders, including some of our own partners.

2014

First partnerships in Ukraine

In response to the outbreak of armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, EHRAC begins to litigate cases at the European Court of Human Rights with the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) and the Regional Centre for Human Rights.

2015

Expansion into LGBTIQ+ rights

We begin litigating the case of Aghdgomelashvili and Japaridze v Georgia, which concerns a homophobic and transphobic police raid on Georgia’s first ever LGBTIQ+ NGO, the Inclusive Foundation (IF). The case was initially lodged by INTERIGHTS and Article 42.

2015

Justice for displaced Nagorno-Karabakh residents

We win a joint case, Sargsyan v Azerbaijan, with the Armenian NGO Legal Guide, regarding the property rights of citizens forced to flee their homes because of the hostilities in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

2015

Zero tolerance for Violence against Women

We win a landmark case with the NGO Article 42 against Georgia before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), concerning long-term physical and sexual abuse of a mother and daughter by their husband/father. It is the first ever case on domestic violence in the country to be decided on by an international body.

2015

Philip Leach wins Human Rights Lawyer of the Year

EHRAC Director Philip Leach becomes the first ever recipient of the Law Society’s Prestigious award for the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year.

2015

Sweeping surveillance powers of Russian authorities are "arbitrary and abusive"

EHRAC and Memorial win the case of Zakharov v Russia finding that the Russian legislation on surveillance of mobile telephones fails to provide for “adequate and effective guarantees against arbitrariness and the risk of abuse.”

2016

Safeguarding the right to protest in the Bolotnaya Square demonstration

In a strongly worded judgment in Frumkin v Russia, the European Court of Human Rights rules that Russia failed in its obligations to protect freedom of assembly by not taking adequate measures to ensure that the 2012 protest was conducted peacefully.

2016

European Court of Human Rights finds Rasul Jafarov’s arrest to be politically motivated

The Court rules that Azerbaijan’s arrest and detention of the prominent human rights defender Rasul Jafarov was politically motivated and aimed at punishing him for his human rights work. It is the first time that the Court has found such a violation in the case of a persecuted human rights defender. Rasul is released from prison by presidential pardon on the same day.

2017

Justice for Beslan school siege victims

Over 400 victims of the 2004 Beslan school siege, and their families, finally secure justice, as the European Court of Human Rights finds Russia responsible for failure to prevent loss of life.

2018

Launch of Crimea project

We launched a project in support of Crimean lawyers to litigate cases of forced citizenship, forced displacement and other issues affecting residents of the peninsula following occupation.

2019

EHRAC relies on innovative open-source evidence in eastern Ukraine case

Turner-Prize nominated, open-source investigations agency Forensic Architecture unveil an online platform of evidence, which we commissioned, demonstrating Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine for submission in a joint case with the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group (ULAG). It marks the first time that evidence of this kind has been submitted to the European Court of Human Rights.

2019

UN women’s right body concludes “satisfactory implementation” in X and Y v Georgia

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) officially confirmed the “satisfactory implementation” of its recommendations to the Georgian Government in X and Y v Georgia. […] CEDAW called upon Georgia to institute root-and-branch reforms to tackle domestic violence.

2020

Azerbaijan quashes conviction of Rasul Jafarov

Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court quashed the conviction of the prominent human rights defender Rasul Jafarov, whom EHRAC represents, on the basis of the European Court of Human Rights’ 2016 judgment which ruled that his arrest and detention was unlawful and aimed at punishing him for his human rights work.

2020

Azerbaijan quashes conviction of Rasul Jafarov

Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court quashed the conviction of the prominent human rights defender Rasul Jafarov, whom EHRAC represents, on the basis of the European Court of Human Rights’ 2016 judgment which ruled that his arrest and detention was unlawful and aimed at punishing him for his human rights work.

2020

EHRAC takes cases of enforced disappearances to UN working group

After having successfully represented many families of disappeared persons from Russia’s North Caucasus with Memorial HRC at the European Court of Human Rights, we began bringing cases to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).

2020

EHRAC wins Middlesex University project of the year award

We commissioned Forensic Architecture to compile open-source evidence of Russian military presence during the Battle of Ilovaisk in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Knowing that we have the support of Middlesex University gives us confidence to take on greater challenges and push new boundaries in all areas of our work.