On 21-25 November 2005 the staff of the SRJI ran a seminar in Moscow for lawyers from Chechnya and Ingushetia. A crash course in the European Convention of Human Rights and the procedures of the European Court was on the programme. The seminar attracted a total of 17 delegates.
On 24-25 March 2006 the SRJI ran the second seminar on litigation in the European Court. The seminar took place in the Assa hotel (city of Nazran, Ingushetia). Delegates included attendees of the first seminar, as well as bar association members from Karachaevo-Cherkesiya, Kabardino-Balkaria and South Ossetia, as well as staff of the Grozny office of the Interregional NGO Committee Against Torture. Most delegates had not been aware of the procedure of application to the European Court of Human Rights before.
Doina Ioana Straisteanu, seminar moderator and legal director of the SRJI came up with different presentation formats: lectures, case studies, role-playing games and individual consultations. On the first day, the delegates benefited from a lecture on the application procedure in the ECtHR. Later the delegates went through case studies of drafting a claim and had group discussions with the lecturer.
The second day included an in-depth discussion of Article 2 of the European Convention (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture), which are widely violated in the North Caucasus, regrettably. The lectures and seminars were run by the SRJI lawyer Andrey Nikolaev and Olga Shepeleva, a staff lawyer from the NGO Demos. As a practical task, claims against Turkey were offered for general discussion, which have a lot of similarities with the situation in the North Caucasus. In the concluding remarks the lecturers suggested a number of practical patterns to follow in this kind of cases.
The last day featured a role-playing game Case Litigation in the European Court. Delegated acted as applicants, representatives of the respondent state and judges of the ECtHR. This “enactment” of the litigation process was accompanied by more emotionally charged speeches and heated discussions than is usually the case at the actual trial in the Court. The role-playing game gave the delegates a general idea of how this kind of litigation is usually performed and what the decisive stage of claim consideration is like, which was a crucial part of the overall agenda of the seminar.