[JURIST] A Moscow City Court [official website] judge known for presiding over cases involving neo-Nazi groups was killed Monday morning while leaving his apartment. The murder [BBC report] of Judge Eduard Chuvashov is suspected to be a contract killing [Al Jazeera report] in light of the death threats he faced after presiding over the trials of members of neo-Nazi gangs [BBC report]. Last week, Chuvashov sentenced [NYT report] members of the Ryno Gang, a group known for attacking non-Russian immigrants, to 10-20 years in prison for the racially motivated killings of Central Asian immigrants between 2006 and 2007. In February, Chuvashov sentenced members of another ultra-nationalist organization, calling themselves the White Wolves, for committing similar crimes. On Monday, Chuvashov was set to begin the trial [CNN report] of a former police officer accused of plotting to bomb national monuments in Moscow.
In August 2008, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) [official website] called on Russia to take action against growing instances of ethnic violence and neo-Nazi activity [JURIST report] within its borders. CERD said that Chechens, Roma, and other ethnic and religious minorities are the most common victims, and noted allegations that Russian police frequently refuse to intervene to stop such attacks. A January 2008 report [JURIST report] issued by the SOVA Center [advocacy website] rights group found that hate crimes [JURIST news archive] in Russia rose 13 percent in 2007, but also found that police have done little to stop attacks. In June 2007, Human Rights First [advocacy website] reported that hate crimes are on the rise throughout all of Europe [JURIST report], after conducting a study examining recent hate crimes in France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. That study found that Russia has a "proliferation of violent hate crimes directed against ethnic, religious and national minorities."