26 January 2016, Tuesday

The Russian Ministry of Justice has begun unplanned inspections of Foundation “Justice Initiative” in Nazran as well as the NGO “Legal Assistance – Astreya” in Moscow, which are the two leading partner organizations of Russian Justice Initiative (RJI).

In its official notice of the inspection, the Ministry stated that the purpose of the inspection was to “check the activities of an organization carrying out the function of a foreign agent, who has not submitted an application for inclusion in the foreign agent registry.”

“The Ministry appears to have concluded, in advance, that Astreya is a foreign agent, even though Astreya successfully passed a scheduled inspection in August 2015,” said Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer for RJI. “Following the previous inspection, the Ministry wrote in its report that no political activities had been found during the audited period. The current inspection was instigated on the basis of an order of the Federal Ministry of Justice, which according to law can be issued only at the request of the President of the Russian Federation or by the Prosecutor’s office. We are flattered by such attention at high levels to our work, but we would like to review these documents and have submitted a disclosure request to the local branch of the Ministry of Justice.”

The main focus of RJI’s work is litigation on behalf of victims of human rights violations in Russian courts and at the European Court of Human Rights. RJI has filed complaints of violations such as “disappearances” and torture in the North Caucasus, as well as on issues relating to women and children’s rights. It represents more than 2,000 applicants mainly from Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan, and more than 250 applicants from Georgia and South Ossetia.

Over the years, RJI has drafted thousands of complaints on behalf of victims that are guided only by the highest professional standards, without any political considerations whatsoever, its main goal being to restore the rights of citizens who have suffered from the arbitrary or negligent actions of Government representatives. Thus the organization has filed cases against the Russian Government for violations of human rights in the North Caucasus, but also against the Georgian Government for violations committed during the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia.  

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