Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 27

Strasbourg Court Orders Moscow to Compensate Kidnapped Chechens’ Relatives

In the latest ruling against the Russian government in a case involving Chechnya, the European Court of Human Rights on July 3 ordered Moscow to pay a total of 175,000 euros ($275,000) in compensation to relatives of several Chechen men abducted by Russian troops in Chechnya in 2000 and 2002. As the Associated Press reported, that same day, President Dmitry Medvedev fired Russia’s envoy to the Strabourg-based court, Veronika Milinchuk. The AP noted that while no reason was given for Milinchuk’s dismissal, the Kremlin has been “irked” by the dozens of verdicts against Russia issued by the court in cases involving human rights abuses in Chechnya. Also on July 3, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of a Russian government request that case files relating to the 2002 Moscow theater siege be held as classified material, RIA Novosti reported. A lawyer for the relatives of victims of the siege, Igor Trunov, said the files contain no secret information and thus there are no grounds to restrict access to them. He also said that if additional evidence was presented in secret, the Strasbourg court’s ruling would also be classified, which could have “legal implications” for the plaintiffs.

Russian Court Finds Military Culpable for Serviceman Who Vanished in Chechnya

The city court in Maikop, the capital of Adygeya, ordered Russia’s Defense Ministry to pay 200,000 rubles (more than $8,500) in compensation to Rosa Khalishkhova, a resident of the city of Nartkala, Kabardino-Balkaria, whose son Albert went to Chechnya in 1995 to fight as a Russian serviceman and disappeared there. Kavkazky Uzel reported on July 8 that Khalishkhova was never told what happened to her son and spent five years searching for him in Chechnya herself. In 1999, she was wounded and captured by militants but following her released continued to search for her son. The Maikop District Court also ordered the Defense Ministry to provide Khalishkhova with information about her son’s fate within one month.

Beslan “Healer” Sentenced to 11 Years

On July 7, Moscow’s Tagansky Court sentenced Grigory Grabovoi, the self-styled healer who claimed he could resurrect children killed in the Beslan school siege, to 11 years in jail, the BBC reported. Grabovoi, who was accused by Beslan residents and others of accepting money for promising to bring back the dead or cure serious illnesses, was convicted on 11 counts of fraud. He denied all charges, saying he was a victim of religious persecution.