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2012 | EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS | Cases against Russia

The cases below arose in the context of the second separatist war between Chechenya and Russia (1999-2009) and the related insurgency in Ingushetia. The Court encountered a great many cases exhibiting similar characteristics, involving unlawful abduction and detention, frequent use of torture, disappearances and deaths. In its press release (ECHR 457 (2012) 18.12.2012) concerning the case of Aslakhanova and others v Russia, the Court issued the following statement:

The Court has regularly found violations of the same rights in similar cases in more than 120 judgments, resulting from the disappearances that have occurred in the Northern Caucasus since 1999. It concluded that the situation in the case of Aslakhanova and Others resulted from a systemic problem of non-investigation of such crimes, for which there was no effective remedy at national level.

The Court outlined two types of general measures, under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments), to be taken by Russia to address those problems: to alleviate the continuing suffering of the victims’ families; and, to remedy the structural deficiencies of the criminal proceedings. A corresponding strategy was to be prepared by Russia without delay and to be submitted to the Committee of Ministers for the supervision of its implementation. At the same time, the Court decided not to adjourn the examination of similar cases pending before it”

Khutsayev and Others v. Russia, Application no. 16622/05, 27 May 2010

Violent, unlawful abduction from the family home, disappearance and presumed death of two men. Ill-treatment of other members of the family and theft of valuables from the family house. The Court found that State authorities were responsible for these acts and that the law-enforcement authorities failed to carry out an effective criminal investigation.

The applicants had suffered degrading and inhumane treatment in the anguish caused by the loss of their family members, the indifference shown by the authorities towards them and the failure to provide any information about the fate of their close relatives. The court found violations of Articles 2,3,5,8 and 13 and awarded substantial non-pecuniary damages and costs.

Isayev v. Russia Application no. 43368/042011, 21 June 2011

Abduction and torture resulting in death of a Russian man residing in the Chechen Republic. Failure of Russian authorities to investigate the alleged torture or the death. The Court found grave violations of Articles 2 and 3, and also Article13 and awarded substantial non-pecuniary damages.

Aslakhanova and others v. Russia (Applications nos. 2944/06 and 8300/07, 50184/07, 332/08, 42509/10) 18 December 2012

Abduction, disappearance and presumed death of eight male relatives from five different families from Grozny or the Grozny District between March 2002 and July 2004. The abductions occurred in quite similar circumstances: the applicants’ relatives were arrested by groups of armed and masked men at their homes or in the streets in a manner resembling a security operation. Torture was inflicted upon another male relative. The Court found violations of Articles 2,3,5 and 13 ECHR and awarded substantial non-pecuniary damages.

In this case 2 Russians residents in Ingushetia were arrested without warrant, and tortured, one of them to death, by officers of the federal units of the Russian Ministry of the Interior who were stationed in Nazran following an attack carried out by rebel fighters on 21-22 June 2004. The officers brought persons to the Unit “in order to check whether they had been involved in the crimes”. Violations of Articles 2,3,5,8 and 13 of the ECHR. Substantial damages paid to the survivor and to the family of the deceased man.

Summaries of and links to many more cases originating in this region can be found at the site of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC).