Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 5


On January 25, Reuters reported that the Russian government had refused for a second time to register the Moscow office of Russian Justice Initiative, a Dutch-based human rights group that gives legal aid to Chechens who have accused the Russian military of torture and abuse. In a letter dated January 19, the Federal Registration Service informed the NGO that its application had been rejected on technical grounds. The day before, two Chechen brothers, Adam and Arbi Chitaev won a case before the European Court of Human Rights, the first conviction of torture against federal forces in the two wars that the government has fought against the rebels in Chechnya since 1994 (Chechnya Weekly, January 25). The brothers received legal aid and advice from Russian Justice Initiative. “I hope, and I think, the two events are not connected,” Reuters quoted Russian Justice Initiative chairman Jan ter Laak as saying by telephone from the Netherlands. “But some people think they are, because we were refused registration the day after the case.”