The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Jan. 9 that Russia must pay 1.9 million euros, or $2.6 million, to the families of 36 Chechen men who disappeared between 2000 and 2006. The court found that Russia was in violation of Articles 2, 3, 5 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (PDF). These violations concern the right to life, prohibition of inhuman treatment, right to liberty and security and right to an effective remedy. The court found that the families presented credible evidence towards their claim that their loved ones have been seized by the Russian military and Russia had failed to prove that the military was not responsible for the disappearances. It is unclear whether Russia will appeal the judgment to a higher human rights court.
The ECHR has repeatedly ruled against Russia in human rights cases involving Chechnya, and rights groups have urged Russia to enforce the judgments. In 2009 the ECHR ordered Russia to pay a total of 282,000 euros to compensate the families of Chechen abduction victims. Also in 2009 the court ordered Russia to pay 37,000 euros to a woman for the death of her husband, who was chopping wood when Russian troops killed him in 2000. In 2008 the court determined Russia had violated the human rights of six other Chechens who disappeared between 2001 and 2003, and ordered payment to their families of 320,000 euros.
From Jurist, Jan. 10. Used with permission.