The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a case brought against Russia by shareholders in collapsed oil firm YUKOS is admissible and will be examined, a spokesman said on Thursday.
The decision paves the way for a trial of the case, in which shareholders argue that they were stripped of their possessions.
"The admissibility decision has been pronounced and communicated to both parties," a spokesman for the Strasbourg-based court said.
Once Russia's largest oil company, YUKOS was brought to its knees under a multibillion-dollar back-tax claim that led to its bankruptcy and asset sales at state-forced auctions, most of which were snatched up by state oil major Rosneft
YUKOS ex-owner and previously Russia's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Siberia.
The company's former chief financial officer, Bruce Misamore, welcomed the decision in which he said the court had ruled that "aspects of the complaint" were admissible.
"The decision by the European Court of Human Rights to investigate elements of our claim is excellent news for all of YUKOS Oil Company's stakeholders," he said.
"This is an important step towards the vindication of the company's belief in the rule of law -- something it never secured in Russia," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Russia's ambassador to rights body the Council of Europe denounced what he called the "politicisation" of the court, which has repeatedly ruled against Russia for rights abuses in Chechnya, Russian prisons and elsewhere.
Russia's lower house of parliament has refused for two years to ratify a protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights that would speed up the court's work.
"The main reason is due to the political context and a certain politicisation of the court's work we have observed recently," Russian ambassador Alexander Alekseev told Reuters.
Reuters Last Mod: 30 Ocak 2009, 15:51