The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled on Thursday that Russia must pay 1.9 million euros, or $2.6 million, to the families of 36 Chechen men who disappeared between 2000 and 2006. The court found that Russia was in violation of Articles 2, 3, 5 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. These violations concern the right to life, prohibition of inhuman treatment, right to liberty and security and right to an effective remedy. The court found [Radio Free Europe report] that the families presented credible evidence towards their claim that their loved ones have been seized by the Russian military and Russia had failed to prove that the military was not responsible for the disappearances. It is unclear whether Russia will appeal the judgment to a higher human rights court.
The ECHR has repeatedly ruled against Russia in human rights cases involving Chechnya [JURIST news archive], and rights groups have urged Russia to enforce the judgments [JURIST report]. In 2009 the ECHR ordered [JURIST report] Russia to pay a total of 282,000 euros to compensate the families of Chechen abduction victims. Also in 2009 the court ordered Russia [JURIST report] to pay 37,000 euros to a Russian national for the death of her husband, who was chopping wood when Russian troops killed him in 2000. In 2008 the court 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 euros. Also in 2008 former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev [BBC profile] proposed 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.