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— 10 августа 2012 г. —

Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to Consider Russia’s Failure to Implement the European Court judgments Concerning Heavy Civilian Losses in the Bombings of Katyr-Yurt, Chechnya

On August 1, 2012, the Human Rights Centre Memorial (Moscow) and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC, London), submitted an application to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to initiate infringement proceedings against Russia under Article 46 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for a continuous failure to conduct an effective investigation into the bombing of the village of Katyr-Yurt in Chechnya in 2000 by the federal armed forces resulting in heavy civilian losses. The mechanism enables the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to refer a case back to the Court where a respondent State fails to comply with the Court’s binding judgment. The Committee of Ministers is to meet to discuss the issue on September 24—26, 2012, in Strasbourg.

The ECtHR delivered two judgments, in 2005 and 2010, concerning the bombings of the village of Katyr-Yurt in Chechnya, in February 2000 *. The judgments in question are the case of Isayeva v. Russia (application No. 7950/00, judgment of 24 February 2005) and Abuyeva and Others v. Russia (application No. 27065/05, judgment of 2 December 2010) respectively.

In both judgments the Court held the Russian authorities responsible for multiple civilian deaths resulting from indiscriminate bombing of Katyr-Yurt village. In Isayeva case four applicant’s relatives were killed in the bombing, including three juveniles. In Abuyeva and Others v. Russia the applicants lost 24 relatives in the bombing; another 16 were injured.

In both cases the Court has found a violation of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights safeguarding the right to life, in its substantive (the protection of life) and procedural aspects (effective investigation). The Court has also established a lack of effective domestic remedies contrary to Article 13 of the Convention manifesting in the authorities’ failure to conduct an effective investigation into the February 2000 events in Katyr-Yurt.

The Court ruled that the Russian authorities were to pay an award to the applicants as well as to ensure a proper investigation into the crime.

However, the Russian authorities have persistently failed to implement the Court’s judgments , limiting themselves to paying an award to the victims. In the Katyr-Yurt bombing cases, domestic authorities are yet to establish the perpetrators of the crime and hold them responsible despite the Committee of Ministers’ supervision of the enforcement of the Isayeva judgment since 2006. Bearing that in mind, HRC Memorial and EHRAC have launched Infringement Proceedings against Russia pursuant to Article 46 of the Convention, as amended by Protocol No. 14 in 2012. The new mechanism means that, having studied the non-compliance case, the Committee of Ministers has a right to refer the case back to the ECtHR by a two-third’s majority for it to consider the state’s failure to implement the Court’s judgments.

If the Committee of Ministers decides that the cases are to be brought to the ECtHR, the Court may deliver a new judgment holding Russia responsible for the violation of Article 46 of the Convention. The Court may bind Russia to take concrete steps in order to comply with the ECtHR’s original judgment.

Russia’s non-compliance with the ECtHR’s judgments on cases resulting from the offences committed by law enforcement and security officers in 2000—2003 in the North Caucasus, including abductions, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and torture, is particularly urgent as, according to the statutory limitations provided by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, prosecution for a crime can only take place up to ten or fifteen years after the offence, i. e. 2013—2018. Unless the authorities enforce the ECtHR judgments, lots of applicants may lose hope for the restoration of justice towards their relatives.

The Memorial-EHRAC Infringement Proceedings request is available here

For more information on the Abuyeva and Others v. Russia case, click here

* In autumn 1999 the village of Katyr-Yurt was declared a “safe zone.”

On February 4, 2000, a large group of Chechen militants entered the village. The authorities failed to warn the villagers in advance about the possible invasion. Neither were the villagers told about the planned military operation aimed at the destruction of the rebel fighters, preparations to which were already underway. The failure to convey the information came despite the fact that both pieces of information were available to the Russian military command. Without offering safe exit routes for the local villagers, the Russian authorities attacked the fighters with heavy aviation bombs and multiple rocket launchers. The two roads leading from Katyr-Yurt were controlled by the military checkpoints, one of which was closed to the villagers. This made the evacuation of the civilians even more complicated. The bombing of Katyr-Yurt continued until February 7.

The commanders that led the Russian forces, planned the operation and implemented the plan were Gen. Vladimir Shamanov and Gen. Yakov Nedobitko.

August 10, 2012













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