On September 4, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ukraine finished examining the model case on resuming pensions for internally displaced persons, which had been appealed with the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court. The trial was handled by the Charitable Foundation Right to Protection.
In its judgment, the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court confirmed that requirements for inspections given in the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 365 of 2016 are not legitimate grounds to suspend pensions. Thus, the decision of the Pension Fund of Ukraine to suspend pensions based on results of inspections was declared unlawful. As a reminder, the Cabinet’s Resolution regarding pensions for IDPs provided for unscheduled checks at the IDPs’ places of residence.
Maksym Shcherbatyuk, Program Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union: “The Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court supported the legal stance expressed by the Cassation Administrative Court of the Supreme Court in the model case on suspension of pensions for IDPs. This verdict is a positive outcome for IDPs’ pension rights, as it allows people to defend their rights in court.”
Forming precedents that protect IDPs is an important task for the entire human rights community. UHHRU, through its network of legal aid centers, provides legal assistance in cases dealing with suspended pensions. Many of these cases are waiting their turn in courts of various instances. We hope that the verdict of the Supreme Court’s Grand Chamber will help reach positive verdicts in these cases.
To protect the pension rights of IDPs, it is also important to recognize the unlawfulness of the very procedure of inspections for IDPs. In this context, we should recall that on July 4, the Kyiv Appellate Administrative Court supported the verdict of the District Administrative Court, which abolished the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine regarding checks of IDPs required for getting pensions and social benefits. The lawsuit against the Cabinet’s decisions was launched by the head of the Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and former head of the UHHRU Mykola Kozyrev. The human rights activist and IDP demanded that these regulations be abolished. The case was supported by UHHRU’s Strategic Litigation Center, with the Center’s lawyer Yevhen Chekaryov representing the plaintiff in court. The case is currently in cassation instance.