Moscow, 24 January - RAPSI. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Wednesday registered complaints filed by four American families challenging the so-called Dima Yakovlev law, which prohibits US families from adopting Russian orphans, attorney Karinna Moskalenko told RAPSI.

The law prohibits US citizens from adopting Russian children and provides for the termination of the US/Russia adoption Agreement signed by both countries in 2011. In signing the bill into law, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree aimed at improving conditions for Russian orphans. The multifaceted decree took aim at a number of overarching policy goals and called for the establishment of perks for Russian adoptive parents.

On January 22, the Supreme Court held that of the adoptions pending at the time the Dima Yakovlev law took effect, those that had already received court approval would go through. According to a statement on its website: "Children whose adoptions by US nationals were approved by courts before January 1, 2013, and have come into force, including after January 1, 2013, must be turned over to their adoptive parents."

According to Moskalenko, the complaint was filed on January 22 by four families who had not yet received court orders permitting their pending adoptions of Russian orphans when the law entered into force.

In Moskalenko’s view, the law’s enactment was repugnant to the minimum requirements required by the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention). She specifically raises claims under articles 3 – which prohibits torture, 8 – which provides for protection of one’s private and family life, and 14 – which protects against discrimination.

The claimants don’t only want the breaches that they assert they suffered personally to be fixed; they urge the enactment of amendments to the law.

They further argue that Russia lacks an effective mechanism to allow them to launch an appeal. As a result, the families further assert a violation of Article 13 of the Convention, which protects the right to effective remedy.

The law is unofficially named for Dima Yakovlev, a two-year-old Russian boy who died after his adoptive American father left him in the car for nine hours on a hot summer day.