01 October 2009, Thursday

The European Court has found Russia responsible for the enforced disappearance of a young Chechen man from the village of Mesker-Yurt, Chechnya, Russian Justice Initiative said today. The case, Amanat Ilyasova v Russia, was brought by the parents and wife of Musa Ilyasov, who was abducted from his home in August 2002.

In the early morning hours of August 11 2002, a group of men in camouflaged uniforms arrived at the applicant's residence and entered their family store, from which they removed several items. A few of them then went into the house, pointed their weapons at Musa's parents and said they were carrying out a security check. After examining Musa's passport, one of the soldiers objected that Musa was not the man they were looking for; another soldier replied that it didn't matter and they would “sort it out later.” The men then put a pillow-case over Musa's head, hand-cuffed him, put him in an APC and drove off in the direction of Argun. He has not been seen since.

The applicants immediately appealed to the authorities following Musa's abduction but the investigation into his disappearance has produced no tangible results.

In its unanimous judgment, the Court found that:

  • The right to life has been violated in respect of Musa Ilyasov who must be presumed dead (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);
  • The Russian authorities had failed to conduct effective investigations into the above violation (Article 2);
  • Musa was illegally detained prior to his disappearance (Article 5);
  • The manner in which the complaints of the Applicants were dealt with by Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
  • The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before Russian authorities for the violations (violation of Article 13).

The applicants were awarded a total of EUR 37,000 in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

The Russian Government currently faces the obligation to implement over seventy judgments—excluding those which have not yet entered into force—concerning similar violations from the North Caucasus. The deplorable lack of progress in implementating the Court's judgments was recently documented in the Human Rights Watch Report Who Will Tell Me What Happened to My Son?.

The Russian Justice Initiative assisted the applicants in Ilyasova in applying to the Court in 2006.

For more information:

In Moscow, Vanessa Kogan: +7 925 863 5111.

In Ingushetia, Roemer Lemaitre: + +7 928 726 0975

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