European rights court holds Russia liable for for Chechen abductions

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) April 9 issued rulings in four cases ordering Russia to pay a total of €282,000 to compensate six families who claimed government agents abducted their Chechen relatives between 2001 and 2003. In three of the four cases, Dokayev and Others v. Russia, Dzhabrailova v. Russia, and Malsagova and Others v. Russia, masked men clad in camouflage and armed with machine guns abducted five men from their Chechen Republic homes in 2002 and 2003.

In the fourth case, Gaziyeva and Others v. Russia, masked men abducted a man in February 2001 while he was stopped at a military roadblock. In each case, the court found that Russian state servicemen had abducted the victims, whom the court presumed to be dead. The court held Russia liable in all four cases for violating the disappeared men’s rights to life, protection from inhuman treatment, and protection from unacknowledged detention under the European Convention on Human Rights. In three cases, the ECHR also found that Russia failed to provide an effective remedy during investigations into the disappearances, in violation of Article 13. Under Article 43 of the ECHR treaty, any party to the case has three months to request that a panel of the 17-member Grand Chamber of the Court review the judgments before they become final.

The ECHR has repeatedly ruled against Russia in human-rights cases involving Chechnya. In March, the court ordered Russia to pay €37,000 to a Russian national for the death of her husband, who was chopping wood when Russian troops killed him in 2000. In December, the court determined Russia had violated the human rights of six other Chechens who disappeared between 2001 and 2003, and ordered Russia to pay the victims’ families €320,000. Last May, the court held Russia responsible for the disappearance of a dozen others from Chechnya in 2002 and 2003. (Jurist, April 9)

See our last post on Russia and Chechnya.

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