Investigation of Sknyliv accident: ECHR rules on compensations for victims of Sknyliv air show tragedy

14:20 Sep. 1, 2016

ECHR rules on compensations for victims of Sknyliv air show tragedy

A fire-engine extinguishes flame on the wreckage of Ukrainian Su-27 fighter jet, which crashed into crowd on July 27, 2002 (UNIAN file photo)

Ukrainian authorities' response to military air show crash was satisfactory, the Court decides

European Court of Human Rights has ruled on the cases of two Ukrainian families whose relatives were killed at the Sknyliv air show on July 27, 2002.

The corresponding decisions in cases Mikhno v. Ukraine and Atamanyuk v. Ukraine were published on the Court's website on September 1.

The applicants in the first case are Nina and Anastasiya Mikhno, a grandmother and her granddaughter. Anastasiya's mother and father were in the epicentre of the accident and died at the scene. Anastasiya, who was five at the time, witnessed her parents being crushed by the aircraft.

The applicants in the second case are four Ukrainian nationals: two sisters, Svitlana and Lyudmila Atamanyuk, their mother, Ganna Atamanyuk (now deceased) and Svitlana Atamayuk's niece, Anna Loskutova.

Svitlana Atamanyuk's daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, who attended the air show, all died on the spot. Her niece, Anna Loskutova, who had gone with them to the air show, survived.

Watch also Injured in Sknyliv air show disaster still struggle for state compensations

Relying in particular on Article 2 (right to life/investigation), all six applicants alleged that the Ukrainian authorities had been responsible for the airplane crash resulting in the deaths of their relatives, notably by failing to put in place the necessary legislative, administrative and practical safeguards to protect lives during the air show; and that they had failed to carry out an effective and independent investigation into the crash.

The court ruled that there have been no violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights; in particular that the circumstances of the accident had been addressed satisfactorily at the national level, and those responsible – five military officers, including the two pilots of the crashed plane – having been identified and punished following an investigation which had been sufficiently independent, adequate and prompt.

However, the Court noted that the proceedings concerning Ms Mikhno's claim for damages had lasted ten years in a violation of Article 6 § 1(right to a fair trial within a reasonable time)  of the Convention. So, Ukraine is to pay Ms Mikhno 3,600 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 360 for legal fees.

Sknyliv air show disaster happened 14 years ago during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Ukrainian Air Force's 14th Air Corps. The Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 operated by two experienced pilots crashed into the crowd during the aerobatics presentation.

77 people, including 28 children, died; more than 500 were injured with 100 of them hospitalized with severe traumas.

The catastrophe became the deadliest air show accident in world's history.

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