18 September 2008, Thursday

The European Court of Human Rights today announced its 10,000th judgment, Takhayeva and Others v. Russia (no. 23286/04), which unanimously condemned Russia for the enforced disappearance of a twenty-year-old man in Chechnya in November 2002, Russian Justice Initiative said today.

Ayub Takhayev was detained by Russian servicemen in the early morning of 13 November 2002 at his home in the village of Mesker-Yurt, Chechnya. On the following day, Russian servicemen detained two other villagers, Viskhadzhi Magamadov and Khasan Mezhiyev, and another, Adam Ilyasov, the day after that. There has been no news of Ayub or the three other men since they were detained. The relatives of Viskhadzhi, Khasan and Adam have also complained to the Court and a decision is pending in all three cases.

The Court was particularly critical of the ineffective investigation regarding Ayub's disappearance: “The Court notes that it appears that the [witnesses] were questioned for the first time only in 2007, that is, five years after the incident. Furthermore, it appears that the investigating authorities have not questioned any servicemen of law enforcement agencies or the military at all. (...) It appears that no real effort was made by the authorities to establish the whereabouts and fate of Ayub Takhayev.”

In its unanimous judgment, the Court held that:

  • The right to life had been violated in respect of Ayub Takhayev, who must be presumed dead (violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);

  • The Russian authorities did not conduct an effective investigation into the disappearance (violation of Article 2);

  • Ayub Takhayev was illegally detained (violation of Article 5);

  • The manner in which the applicants’ complaints were dealt with by Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (violation of Article 3);

  • The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before Russian authorities for the violations (violation of Article 13).

The Court awarded the applicants 38,000 Euro for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

In a press release announcing its 10,000th judgment, the President of the Court, Jean-Paul Costa, commented on the achievements of the Court in securing individual rights in Europe, and on the importance of securing Convention rights at the national level. Referring to the Takhayeva judgment in particular, President Costa noted in this regard that “only when such protection is a reality at national level will it be possible to prevent such grave violations as were found in the Court’s 10,000th judgment delivered today.”

On 2 October 2008 the Court will announce its judgments in three other disappearance cases from Chechnya.

For more information:

In Moscow, Russia: Vanessa Kogan, +7 916 367 1219

In Moscow, Russia: Roemer Lemaître, +7 906 772 3632

In Nazran, Russia: Arsen Sakalov, +7 906 486 0753

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