The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a Russian law barring Americans from adopting Russian children led to human rights violations.
The ruling posted on the Strasbourg court's website on January 17 said that the legislation, which President Vladimir Putin signed in December 2012, resulted in breaches of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibit discrimination and guarantee the right to respect for family life.
The court found that the ban illegally discriminated against prospective American parents of Russian-born children because it prevented their adoption "purely on the basis of the prospective parents' nationality," the ECHR said in a statement.
It also said the ban was "disproportionate to the [Russian] government's stated aims, given that it had been retroactive, indiscriminate, and was applied irrespective of the status of proceedings or the individual circumstances."
The complaint was filed by 45 U.S. citizens on behalf of themselves and the 27 Russian children they were in the final stages of adopting when the law took effect. The prospective parents said that "a bond had already formed between the adults and children" and that the ban "violated their right to family life," the court said.
The ECHR obliged Russia to pay the prospective parents a combined sum of 75,000 euros ($80,000) in compensation and 13,600 euros ($14,400) for expenses.
Russia plans to appeal the ruling, Moscow's representative to the court, Deputy Justice Minister Georgy Matyushkin, told Ekho Moskvy radio.
Putin signed the so-called Dima Yakovlev Law in retaliation to a U.S. law imposing asset freezes and travel bans on Russians accused by the United States of human rights abuses, including those believed involved in the death of whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail in 2009.
It contributed to a deterioration of Russian-U.S. ties that began around the time Putin revealed plans to return to the Kremlin in 2012 and accelerated after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014.