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Europe court orders Russia to compensate families for Chechen disappearances

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] Thursday ruled on six Chechnya disappearance cases [press release], ordering Russia to pay a total of €320,000 to the relatives of the victims. In each case, the applicants, all Russian nationals, alleged their relatives disappeared between 2001-2003 after being taken into custody by members of the Russian military and that domestic authorities did not carry out adequate investigations of their claims. The applicants relied on Articles 2, 3, 5, and 13 - the right to life, the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to liberty and security, and the right to an effective remedy - of the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. The court found that in each of the six cases that Russia failed to carry out adequate criminal investigations into the disappearances.

The ECHR has consistently ruled against Russia in cases involving human rights violations in Chechnya. In October, the ECHR issued two decisions [JURIST report] finding Russia in violation of the human rights convention in several cases concerning the deaths or abductions of Russian nationals in Chechnya in 2000. In May, the court ruled that Russia was responsible for the disappearance of a dozen people [JURIST report] during Russian armed raids in Chechnya in 2002 and 2003. 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]. On Wednesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile; JURIST news archive] proposed [transcript, in Russian; JURIST report] that Russian courts become more transparent in order to restore faith in the justice system and prevent people from turning to the ECHR.

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