ECHR condemns Russia for slaughter in Chechnya's Novye Aldy and double murder in Gekhi
By Tomáš Vršovský
STRASBOURG, PRAGUE - The European Court of Human Rights announced today that the Russian authorities are guilty of a series of murders and other serious crimes committed by federal forces in the Chechen village of Novye Aldy on February 5, 2000. In addition, it held them responsible for the murder of two residents of the Chechen village of Gekhi committed by federal forces in August of the same year.
After reviewing the case -- "Musayev and Others versus Russia" -- the Strasbourg court upheld the claims of the five applicants and gave a unanimous ruling that several articles of the European Convention for Human Rights had been violated, in particular those concerning the right to life, the prohibition of inhuman or torture and the right to an effective remedy. The court ordered the Russian state to pay its victims compensation for material and moral damage totalling 143,000 euros and compensation for the costs and expenses of the hearings worth nearly 21,000 euros.
The interests of the applicants are represented by lawyers for the "Memorial" Human Rights Centre and the London-based European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC). Human rights organizations held parallel press conferences in Moscow and Grozny today, and we will also publish a report concerning these.
According to information collected by human rights activists in the aftermath of the "mop-up" in the village, federal units in Novye Aldy killed several dozen civilians. They also engaged in looting, arson and rape. The Russian judicial system has so far failed to establish the identity of those guilty, and no one has been punished.
A second case on which a ruling was made in Strasbourg today involves two residents of the Chechen village of Gekhi, Ali and Umar Musayev, who were arrested by federal soldiers on August 8 2000 after an armoured personnel carrier was blown up nearby the village. A month later, in the presence of the Chechen authorities, the father of the Musayev brothers exhumed four bodies in the local cemetery, two of which were those of his sons and bore the signs of violent death.
After unsuccessful attempts to obtain justice in Russia, the mother of the victims, Aminat Musayeva, appealed together with her husband to the Strasbourg Court, which had accepted their complaint in 2001. In its decision today, the European Court ruled that Russia must pay the claimants moral damages in the sum of 130,000 euros and legal costs of 285 euros.
According to Prague Watchdog’s archive, five decisions have already been taken this year on "Chechen" cases. In all of them the claims of the applicants were met in full or almost in full.
A list of earlier rulings by the European court this year:
April 5: disappearance and death of a 61-year old Chechen man, Shakhid Baysayev, who was detained during a mop-up operation conducted by Russian police force units (OMON) in the Chechen village of Podgornoye in March 2000.
May 10: abduction and murder of Shamil Akhmadov, a Chechen resident who was arrested during a large-scale special operation in the city of Argun in March 2001.
June 21: murder of Chechen activist Zura Bitiyeva and her husband, son and brother, who were shot dead by unknown gunmen at their home in the Chechen town of Kalinovskaya in May 2003
July 5: abduction and murder of Ruslan Alikhadziyev, Speaker of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, who was arrested by federal soldiers in May 2000 in his home in Shali and then "disappeared".
July 12: murder of Chechen national Ayubkhan Magomadov, who was arrested by an armed unit of the Federal Security Service in October 2000 in his home in the village of Kurchaloy and then "disappeared".
Source: Prague Watchdog archive
(T,D) RELATED ARTICLES:
· Chamber judgement in the case "Musayev and Others v. Russia" (ECHR, 26.7.2007)
· Chamber judgement in the case "Musayeva and Others v. Russia" (ECHR, 26.7.2007)
· February 5: A day of slaugther in Novye Aldy (HRW, June 2000)
· The mopping-up operation in Novye Aldy (Memorial, July 2000)