Strasbourg Court Rules Against Russia for Novye Aldy Killings

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 30

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, has again ruled against Russia in a case involving Chechnya (Chechnya Weekly July 19, 12). This time, the court ruled in favor of five Grozny residents who had filed a lawsuit against Russia for the deaths of relatives killed during a zachistka, or security sweep, conducted by Russian forces in the settlement of Novye Aldy, located in the Oktyabrsky and Zavodskoi districts of Grozny, on October 5, 2000. The court stated in a July 26 press release that according to the applicants, at least 60 civilians were killed during the Novye Aldy zachistka. A Human Rights Watch report in June 2000, entitled “February 5: A Day of Slaughter in Novye Aldy” referred to the extrajudicial executions carried out by the Russian special police forces (OMON) and the military. A Memorial Human Rights Center report entitled “‘Mopping-Up,’ Settlement of Novye Aldy, 5 February 2000 – Deliberate Crimes against Civilians,” listed the applicants’ relatives and neighbors as being among the 56 civilians murdered. reported on July 26 that the five plaintiffs – Yusup Musaev, Suleiman and Tamara Magamadov, Malika Labazanova and Khasan Abdulmezhidov – had filed suit against Russia on December 2005.

The Strasbourg-based court found that Russia had violated Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect to the deaths of the applicants’ eleven relatives and the failure to conduct an effective investigation into the circumstances in which the applicants’ relatives died, as well as violating Article 3 (prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment) in respect to one applicant and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy). The court awarded the applicants jointly 143,000 euros ($196,067) for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages and 14,050 euros ($19,263.90) and 4,580 ($9,394.04) pounds sterling for costs and expenses. Russia has three months to appeal the ruling.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on July 19 that Russia had violated the human rights of former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Mikhail Trepashkin during his 2003 detention, saying it “amounted to degrading treatment,” the Moscow Times reported on July 20. The Strasbourg-based court ordered Russia to pay Trepashkin 3,000 euros ($4,150) as compensation, ruling that he had been abused while being held from October to December 2003 in a dark, 6.6-square-meter cell with no access to physical exercise.

Trepashkin was convicted in 2004 of divulging state secrets and the illegal possession of ammunition and is serving a four-year sentence in a Sverdlovsk Oblast prison. As the Moscow Times noted, Trepashkin says the FSB fabricated the charges against him because it was displeased with his critical investigation into the 1999 Moscow apartment building bombings and the 2002 Dubrovka theater hostage-taking incident.