The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for disappearance of two Chechen men in 2002, Russian Justice Initiative reported today.
The fourteen applicants in Khakiyeva, Temirgeriyeva and Others v. Russia (nos. 45081/06 and 7820/07) are the relatives of Musa Temergeriyev, born in 1952, and Lema Khakiyev, born in 1960, who disappeared after their detention by Russian federal troops from their homes in Michurina settlement, Grozny, between August and December 2002.
In the early morning of 21 August 2002 a group of Russian servicemen broke into the house where Lema Khakiyev was sleeping. Lema was ordered to follow them, half-dressed and without shoes or identity documents, and according to witnesses, was taken away in the direction of the district military commander’s office. As the servicemen departed, one of them told Lema's wife that they were from the Oktyabrskiy ROVD and that Lema would be taken there. Later the applicants observed one of the military vehicles that had been used during Lema's abduction leaving the premises of the district military commander's office. The investigation into Lema's disappearance yielded no results.
In the morning of 27 December 2002 Musa Temergeriyev was at the train station in Grozny. During his absence around twenty Russian servicemen in two armoured personnel carriers (APCs) arrived at his house and secured the entry to the courtyard; one of them tried to plant a grenade in the family's refrigerator. When Musa came home, the servicemen checked his passport and conducted a search of the house, finding nothing. They then put Musa in one of the APCs and drove to the premises of military unit no. 3186 at the east end of Grozny. The domestic investigation established the identity of several of the officers deployed in the military detachment that was likely involved in Musa's abduction, but the investigation failed to produce any results.
Musa and Lema have not been seen since their abductions.
In its unanimous judgments, the European Court found that:
- The right to life has been violated in respect of Lema Khakiyev and Musa Temergeriyev (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 applicants’ complaints were dealt with by the Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
- Lema Khakiyev and Musa Temergeriyev were unlawfully deprived of their liberty (Article 5);
- The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before the Russian authorities for the violations (Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 of the Convention).
The applicants were awarded EUR 145,150 in respect of material and moral damages. Russian Justice Initiative represented the applicants in bringing their case to the ECtHR.
For more information,
Vanessa Kogan: + 7 (495) 915-0869; +7 (925) 863-5111
Anastasia Kushleyko: + 7 (495) 915-0869; +7(962) 932-7878