[JURIST] The US and Britain urged the Russian government on Friday to further the investigation into the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. Five Chechan men were convicted [Reuters report] on Thursday for the murder of the opposition politician. The US Department of State [official website] released a statement [press release] hailing Nemstov as a "champion of democracy" and stated:
We welcome the news that five of the persons responsible for the murder of Boris Nemtsov have been convicted of the crime. We call once more on the Russian Government to ensure that all involved in the killing of Boris Nemtsov, including anyone involved in organizing or ordering the crime, are brought to justice.A spokesperson for Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office [official website] offered the department's support [press release] for "Boris Nemtsov's family in their call for a fuller investigation into who ordered his murder." The five convicted men, Anzor Gubashev, Shagid Gubashev, Zaur Dadayev, Ramzan Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, allegedly confessed [JURIST report] to the crime but later retracted their confessions and now claim innocence. Nemtsov had previously served as prime minister and was since known as a prominent liberal political activist. In February 2015 he was shot in the back four times [BBC report] in the middle of busy downtown Moscow. Nemtsov was a known critic of Vladimir Putin and openly politically opposed to Russia's annexation of Crimea and its role in Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine have been in conflict since the annexation of Crimea [JURIST backgrounder] in March 2014. In May an Austrian man was extradited [JURIST report] from Poland to Austria to face war crimes charges for allegedly killing civilians and surrendering troops while fighting for the Ukrainian army. A Ukrainian official said in January that the nation plans to sue Russia [JURIST report] in the International Court of Justice on claims of financing terrorism. Last July Amnesty International and Human Rights released the 56-page report detailing how Ukrainian government officials and Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine have subjected citizens to [JURIST report] "prolonged, arbitrary detention," torture, or other forms of inhumane treatment, including refusing necessary medical attention. In December 2015 the UN human rights office reported that the human rights situation in Ukraine remains troublesome [JURIST report] following two years of conflict with Russia. In March of same year the EU committed to stand by its policy of refusing to recognize Crimea's annexation [JURIST report].