[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] issued five decisions Thursday finding Russia responsible for the disappearance of a dozen people during Russian armed raids in Chechnya in 2002 and 2003. Families of the victims, all of whom are presumed dead, had raised claims under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [PDF text]. The court directed Russia to pay a total of more than 350,000 ($550,000) to the families. Russia has three months to pay or to appeal. AP has more. Read the court's rulings in Gekhayeva v. Russia, Betayev v. Russia, Sangariyeva v. Russia, Ibragimov v. Russia, Utsayeva v. Russia [judgment texts].
The ECHR has consistently ruled against Russia in similar cases involving Chechnya rights violations. In July 2007, the court ruled that Russian authorities were responsible for the shooting deaths of 11 unarmed Chechen civilians, and in June 2007 it held that Russian authorities were liable for the 2003 deaths of four Chechen family members [JURIST reports].