16 December 2010, Thursday

The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for disappearance of two Chechen men during sweeping operations in 2002 and 2004, Russian Justice Initiative reported today.  

The applicants in Taymuskhanovy v. Russia are the mother and children of Ruslan Taymuskhanov who was abducted by Russian security forces on the morning of 30 December 2002. On that morning, Ruslan had been driving home with his mother and a police officer, when his car was stopped at a military checkpoint near Starye Atagi village. The servicemen ordered everyone to get out of the car, searched them, and tied the men’s hands behind their backs. The servicemen then loaded Ruslan and his passengers into a UAZ minivan which drove off in the direction of Grozny. Shortly leaving the checkpoint, Ruslan’s mother was pushed out of the minivan onto the road, as a result of which she lost consciousness for around five hours. At some point during the journey the police officer who had been in Ruslan’s car was also thrown out of the minivan. Ruslan, however, was never seen again.


The applicants in Tumayeva and Others v. Russia are the mother, wife, sisters and aunt of Shamkhan Tumayev who was abducted by Russian servicemen from the in the village of Valerik, Chechnya at the early morning hours of 19 September 2004. On that night Russian federal troops carried out a special sweep operation in the village which employed over 100 servicemen. Around twenty of them arrived at the Tumayev residence and ordered the applicants to open the door. The servicemen searched the house and seized several videotapes and a mobile phone. While the women were locked in one part of the house, the servicemen took Shamkhan away. According to neighbours who witnessed the detention, Shamkhan was beaten in the courtyard and then driven away in a UAZ vehicle. Three other residents of the same village were also apprehended that night.

The investigation into both disappearances produced no results.

In its unanimous judgments, the European Court found that:

  • The right to life was violated in respect of Ruslan Taymuskhanov and Shamkhan Tumayev , into which no effective investigation has been conducted (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);
  • The manner in which the applicants’ complaints were dealt with by the Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
  • Ruslan Taymuskhanov and Shamkhan Tumayev were unlawfully deprived of their liberty (Article 5);
  • The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before the Russian authorities for the violations (Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 of the Convention). 

The applicants were awarded 142,000 euro in respect of material and moral damages. The applicants in both cases were assisted by the Russian Justice Initiative in bringing their complaints to the ECtHR.

For more information,  

In Moscow,

Vanessa Kogan: + 7 (495) 915-0869; +7 (925) 863-5111

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