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Europe rights court finds Russia liable for Chechnya disappearances

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled [press release] Friday that Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights [text] in two cases concerning disappearances in Chechnya [JURIST news archive]. In the cases of Razman Guluyeva and Islam Dubayev [judgments], the ECHR held that Russia violated the right to life, the right to liberty and security, the right to an effective remedy, and prohibitions on inhuman or degrading treatment. Relatives of Guluyev brought the first case before the court, arguing that the Russian authorities had failed to properly investigate Guluyev's 2002 disappearance after he was taken from his home in Grozny by armed men in camouflage uniforms. Applicants in the second case are relatives of Dunbayev and Roman Bersnukayev, members of an armed militia in the Caucuses, who were abducted from the town of Urus-Martan in 2000 and 2001. Russia has been ordered to pay damages [RIA Novosti] in both instances.

The ECHR has repeatedly ruled against Russia in human rights cases involving Chechnya, and rights groups have urged Russia to enforce the judgments [JURIST report]. In September, the ECHR found Russia liable [JURIST report] for the disappearances of two civilians. In April, the ECHR ordered [JURIST report] Russia to pay a total of €282,000 to compensate the families of Chechen abduction victims. In March, the court ordered Russia [JURIST report] to pay €37,000 to a Russian national for the death of her husband, who was chopping wood when Russian troops killed him in 2000. In December 2008, the ECHR determined [JURIST report] Russia had violated the human rights of six other Chechens who disappeared between 2001 and 2003, and ordered Russia to pay the victims' families €320,000. Also last December, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile] proposed [transcript, in Russian] that Russian courts become more transparent [JURIST report] in order to restore faith in the justice system and prevent people from turning to the ECHR.

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