06 October 2006, Friday

The European Court of Human Rights will on 12 October 2006 deliver its judgment in a case concerning the summary execution of five family members in Chechnya, Stichting Russian Justice Initiative said today. The case, Estamirov v. Russia, is a particularly horrific example of the violations that have taken place in Chechnya during the second Chechen war.

On 5 February 2000, Khasmagomed Estamirov (born in 1933), Khozhakhmad Estamirov (born in 1963), Toita Estamirova (born in 1971), their son Khasan Estamirov (born in January 1999), and Said-Akhmed Masarov (born in 1950) were killed by Russian federal forces in a suburb of Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, during a sweep operation several days after the federal forces had established control over the capital. The bodies were discovered the same day, burnt and with several gunshots, in the backyard of their own house by a relative. Toita Estamirova, eight months pregnant at the time, had several gunshots to her chest and abdomen. Toita’s one-year old child, Khasan, had gunshots to his head and leg.

Investigators at the scene of the crime collected numerous empty cartridges and recorded tracks in the ground made by armed personnel carriers only used by Russian military forces. The investigation has established that the sweep operation was conducted by special police force units (OMON) from St. Petersburg and Ryazan. In spite of this, however, the Russian authorities have failed to hold anyone accountable for the crime.

The case was brought to the European Court by several members of the Estamirov family together with the British barrister Gareth Peirce and the organization Stichting Russian Justice Initiative.

The applicants argue that their relatives' right to life, guaranteed by Articles 2 of the European Convention for Human Rights, was violated. They also complain that they had no effective domestic remedies in respect of the above violations, contrary to Article 13.

Russian federal forces summarily executed at least sixty civilians in the suburbs of Grozny on 5 February 2000. Human rights organizations do not have any information indicating that anyone has been charged for these crimes.

For further information about the case, please follow the links:

Admissibility decision


Appeal to the Members PACE by the Human Right Center "MEMORIAL" 

Excerpt from Andrew Meier's book "Black Earth"  

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