Legal Case of the Week: Investigation into deaths of victims of First Chechen War

posted 9 Jan 2017, 03:17 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Jan 2017, 03:18 ]
On 31/12 the remains of 109 people, buried in two mass graves near Grozny and presumably killed during the first military campaign on the territory of Chechnya, were transported from Rostov to the Chechnya, the news website Caucasian Knot reported. Caucasian Knot notes that on 31/12 'marks the 20th anniversary of the withdrawal of the last federal troops from Chechnya' in 1996. Human rights defender Aset Malsagova told Caucasian Knot: "They were men, women, and children. Two of them are identified, and their remains were taken by their relatives. If some of your relatives disappeared during the First Chechen War, then you could find out through the DNA examination if the number of 109 victims included your disappeared relatives.' Caucasian Knot points out that, 'according to various sources, 4000-14,000 Russian soldiers and officers, 3000-10,000 Chechen fighters, and 50,000-100,000 civilians were killed' in the First Chechen War.

On 5/1 Caucasian Knot reported that lawyers with whom its correspondents had spoken had said the 'remains of victims of the Chechen war of 1994-1996 were given out to relatives after the expiry of criminal liability for persons involved in their deaths and proved the ineffectiveness of the investigation.' Nadezhda Ermolaeva, an expert on international law and a legal adviser of the programme 'The Right to Asylum' of the Human Rights Institute, was quoted as saying: 'The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has found violations in more than 200 complaints about disappearances of people. The Russian Federation has found no violation in any of the above cases. The authorities argued that the kidnappings had been committed by militants and that the federal forces had not been involved in the disappearances. When it comes to effectiveness, it comes to a dead end. No search actions ever took place.' 

Photo: Caucasian Knot

'Remains of 109 victims of First Chechen War brought to Chechnya,' Caucasian Knot, 31 December 2016
'Lawyers criticize investigation into deaths of victims of First Chechen War,' Caucasian Knot, 5 January 2017