Yukos Oil Company v. Russia
Yukos’ application in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) argued that the imposition of bogus taxes, the sham auction of YNG and its eventual spurious bankruptcy unlawfully deprived the company of its possessions and imposed a disproportionate burden on it. Yukos contends that the tax proceedings were unfair, the enforcement proceedings were arbitrary, draconian and disproportionate and that the offences which it was found to have committed were not foreseeable or known to the law. As a result it submits that it has been singled out for special treatment, and deprived of the protection of the rule of law, in furtherance of objectives which are both discriminatory and inimical to the Convention.
The Convention provisions relied on by Yukos state as follows:
The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of [the] Convention.
(1) In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time before an independent and impartial tribunal.
(1) No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.
(2) This article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations.
Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
The restrictions permitted under [the] Convention to the said rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed.
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1:
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.