12 March 2009, Thursday  The European Court of Human Rights today unanimously condemned Russia for the enforced disappearance of 13 men in different locations in Chechnya between January 2001 and January 2003, Russian Justice Initiative said today.

Dzhambekova and Others v. Russia (nos. 27238/03 and 35078/04) concerns the disappearances of Rizvan Tatariyev, Sharpudi Visaitov, Magomed Soltymuradov and Imran Dzhambekov. Russian military servicemen detained Rizvan and Sharpudi in the village of Gekhi, Urus-Martan district, Chechnya, on 22 December 2001. Magomed was arrested by military servicemen at his home in Urus-Martan on 11 January 2002. On 19 March 2002 servicemen detained Imran in the village of Goyty, Urus-Martan district. The domestic investigation concluded that it was likely that the disappeared men were detained by Russian servicemen but it failed to establish the whereabouts of the disappeared men as well as the identity of the servicemen who carried out the detentions. In December 2002, two female applicants in the case were detained during a peaceful manifestation against the disappearance of their close relatives. Between 11 and 15 December 2002, the two elderly women were held in deplorable conditions in the Gudermes ROVD.

The applicants in Elsiyev and Others v. Russia (no. 21816/03) are relatives of 8 men who disappeared between 2 and 7 September 2002 in the village of Tsotsi-Yurt during a large security operation by Russian military forces. The disappeared men are Salakh Elsiyev, Iskhadzhi Demelkhanov, Akhmed Demilkhanov, Adam Boltiyev, Lom-Ali Abubakarov, Ramzan Mandiyev, Aslambek Agmerzayev and Dzhabrail Debishev. The authorities acknowledged that a security operation was carried out in Tsotsi-Yurt but denied having detained the applicants' relatives. However, numerous villagers testified how the men were arrested by military servicemen and taken to a filtering point in an old mill.

Khadayeva and Others v. Russia (no. 5351/04) concerns the disappearance of Ali Khadayev after he was arrested by Russian military servicemen at his home in Urus-Martan, Chechnya, on 5 January 2003. There has been no news of him since.

“I still have one wish: to look the generals responsible for my son's disappearance straight in the eyes,” said Khozhbaudi Mandiyev (applicant in Elsiyev and Others)

In today's judgments the ECtHR unanimously held that:

  • The right to life has been violated in respect of the disappeared persons who must be presumed dead (violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);

  • The Russian authorities had failed to conduct effective investigations into the violations of the right to life (violation of Article 2);

  • The applicants' relatives and two of the applicants in Dzhambekova had been illegally detained (violation of Article 5);

  • The manner in which the complaints of the applicants were dealt with by Russian authorities, and the detention of two of the applicants in Dzhambekova, constituted inhuman treatment (violation of Article 3);

  • The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before Russian authorities for the violations (violation of Article 13).

The ECtHR awarded the applicants in the three cases a total of 522 000 euro for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

The applicants in the three cases were assisted in bringing their applications to the ECtHR by Russian Justice Initiative.

For more information:
In Moscow, Russia: Roemer Lemaître, +7 903 1081346

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