12 May 2010, Wednesday

The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for one disappearance and deaths of four civilians killed by Russian forces in Chechnya between 2000-2002, Russian Justice Initiative reported today.

The applicant in Suleymanova v. Russia (no. 9191/06) is the mother of Ramzan Suleymanov whose family was brutally murdered near the village of Gekhi, Chechnya. On 16 May 2000, Aslanbek Aydamirov came to Gekhi to tell his sister Petimat Aydamirova that their mother was sick.  Since Petimat was pregnant, her husband, Ramzan Suleymanov, decided to accompany her, along with their 9-year old son, Ibragim Suleymanov, and her brother, Aslanbek Aydamirov. Around 7 p.m. the family departed Gekhi in a truck; the curfew was in force starting from 9 p.m. At the outskirts of the village the truck with the family inside was fired at by Russian servicemen and later set on fire. All four passengers were forced to lie on the ground and were shot dead in the head. Few days later the remnants of their corpses were found in the field. Four corpses were blown up in such a way that different parts of their bodies were scattered around the field.

The applicant in Shakhabova v. Russia (no. 39685/06) is the mother of Adam Khuraev, who was apprehended by the Russian military forces in Urus-Martan, Chechnya. Around 10 p.m. on 23 November 2002, a group of more than 15 armed servicemen broke into the house of Khuraev’s aunt and conducted a thorough search inside. At the time Adam was in the backyard, just outside of the house. Afterwards, neighbors witnessed one APC and two other cars driving away from the house. Since that moment Adam Khuraev was never seen again. Numerous complaints to various law-enforcement agencies did not yield any result.     

In its unanimous judgment, the European Court found that:

  • The right to life has been violated in respect of Ramzan and Ibragim Suleymanov, Petimat and Aslanbek Aydamirov (Suleymanova). The right to life has also been violated in respect of Adam Khuraev (Shakhabova), who must be presumed dead (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);
  • The Russian authorities have failed to conduct an effective investigation into the above violations (Article 2);
  • The manner in which the complaint of the applicant in Shakhabova was dealt with by the Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
  • Adam Khuraev (Shakhabova) was unlawfully deprived of his liberty (Article 5);
  • The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before Russian authorities for the violations (Article 13).

The applicant in the disappearance case (Shakhabova) was awarded EUR 60,000 in moral damages. The applicant in Suleymanova was awarded EUR 150,000 in non-pecuniary damages. 

The applicants in both cases were assisted in bringing their case to the ECtHR by the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative.

For more information,

In Moscow, Vanessa Kogan: + 7 (495) 915-0869; +7 (925) 863-5111;

Roemer Lemaître: +7 (903) 108-1346.

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