On 13 April 2017 the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Tagayeva and Others v. Russia that Russia had failed to protect the hostages of the Beslan school siege in which about 331 people died, including 186 children, and very many people were injured in September 2004, the BBC reported. School No. 1, the largest school in Beslan, was attacked by Chechen separatists on 1 September 2004. The attackers took 1128 people hostage, including 886 children. The siege was ended by an assault by Russian security forces, which included the use of tanks and flamethrowers. No Russian official has been held responsible for the high number of fatalities in the course of the security services' operation. The European Court of Human Rights awarded the applicants in the case [named Tagayeva and Others v. Russia] a total of €2,933,000. The BBC reports: "Russia said the ruling was 'utterly unacceptable' and that it would appeal. , which included 186 children."
In Tagayeva and Others v. Russia, 346 of the 409 victims of the tragedy were represented at the European Court of Human Rights by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), based at Middlesex University, and Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow). In a press release, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre said that, in the case of Tagayeva and Others v. Russia:
"The Court’s strongly-worded judgment found that Russia had violated the right to life of the victims and their family members on several counts:
· the authorities failed to take preventative security measures given that there was prior knowledge that an attack was planned in the area at an educational institution;
· the investigation into the siege failed to establish whether the force used by the State was justified;
· there were serious shortcomings in the planning and control of the security operation; and
· the security forces used disproportionately powerful and indiscriminate weapons (including tank cannon, grenade launchers and flame-throwers), resulting in hundreds of fatalities and injuries."
Professor Philip Leach, Director of EHRAC, said after the judgment: “This ground-breaking judgment provides a significant measure of justice for the families, after so many years. It establishes the extent of the Russian authorities’ responsibility for severe loss of life during the Beslan School Siege, but also calls for important lessons to be learned, so that the mistakes made at Beslan are not repeated.”
The EHRAC press release also quoted Lord Frank Judd, a former Rapporteur on Chechnya for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as saying: “The extreme nature of the attack on schoolchildren in Beslan is burnt into Russia's national consciousness. This case is just as relevant today given the continuing threat of terror attacks in Russia and across the world. The Russian state has refused to acknowledge its role in this terrible loss of life and today’s judgment is a pivotal moment in holding Russia to account.”
For more information about this case, contact: Sabrina Vashisht of the EHRAC by email on email@example.com or by phone on +44 208 411 4469