Strasbourg Court Finds Russia Guilty Again in Deaths of Chechens

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 20

On May 16, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, rejected Russia’s appeal of a ruling condemning its military forces for the disappearance and presumed death of Khadzhi-Murat Yandiev in Chechnya in 2001. According to the Associated Press, Russia will have to pay Yandiev’s mother, Fatima Bazorkina, 35,000 euros ($47,400) in damages and more than 12,000 euros ($16,250) for court expenses. Bazorkina filed the complaint against Russia in 2001 after she saw television footage of an officer, later identified as Colonel-General Alexander Baranov, interrogating her son as troops were taking over the village of Alkhan-Kala. At the end of the footage, the officer orders soldiers to shoot her son (Chechnya Weekly, July 27, 2006). Baranov was questioned about the incident by the authorities but was never prosecuted.

On May 10, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia over the violent death of another Chechen, Shamil Said-Khasanovich Akhmadov, and ordered it to pay 55,000 euros ($74,450) in damages to his family. According to Reuters, the Strasbourg-based court said Russian responsibility for Akhmadov’s death had been established “beyond all reasonable doubt.” The news agency reported that Akhmadov, who lived 10 kilometers from the Chechen capital Grozny, was one of 170 people arrested during a March 2001 Russian army operation. His body was found in a field in April 2002 with the right leg broken, the upper half of the skull missing and bullet holes in the chest area of his clothes, Reuters reported.