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15.01.2009

Two more judgments against Russia over disappearances in Chechnya and Ingushetia

   

On Thursday, 15 January, the European Court of Human Rights informed of its Chamber judgments regarding the disappearance of Vakha Khavazhovich Abdurzakov (b. 1981) in Chechnya, and Adam Medov in Ingushetia.  In both cases the Court found violations of Article 2 (right to life and lack of effective investigation), Article 3 (inhuman treatment), Article 5 (unacknowledged detention) and Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 (lack of an effective remedy)

In Abdurzakova and Abdurzakov v. Russia (35080/04) the Court held Russia responsible for the enforced disappearance of Vakha Khavazhovich Abdurzakov. Vakha was arrested by military servicemen at his home in the town of Urus-Martan, Chechnya, on 25 October 2002. A few days after Vakha’s arrest, his parents were approached by a woman who proposed them to pay a ransom to an officer of the Urus-Martan Department of the FSB in return for the release of their son. The woman later testified to investigators that she gave the money to the officer. However, Vakha was never released.

Medova v. Russia (25385/04) concerns the enforced disappearance of Adam Medov on 17 June 2004. Four men who identified themselves as officers of the Chechen Department of the FSB detained Adam and another man in the Sunzha District, Ingushetia, and subsequently took them to Chechnya. Adam has not been seen since.

In both cases, the Court found that there had been violations of Article 2 relating to the authorities’ failure to carry out effective criminal investigations into the circumstances in which the applicants’ relatives had disappeared.

In the case of Abdurzakova and Abdurzakov, the Court further found that the applicants had suffered and continued to suffer, distress and anguish as a result of the disappearance of their son and their inability to find out what had happened to him. The manner in which their complaints had been dealt with by the authorities had to be considered to constitute inhuman treatment, in violation of Article 3. It also found that the applicants’ son had been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5, which constituted a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security enshrined in that article.

In the case of Medova, the Court further found that it had not been established exactly how the applicant’s husband had died and whether he had been subjected to ill-treatment by his captors. Nor had the applicant alleged that her husband had been ill-treated by the officers at the checkpoint or at the Sunzhenskiy ROVD. It therefore held that there had been no violation of Article 3 in respect of the alleged ill-treatment of the applicant’s husband. However, it considered that the authorities had failed to bring to an end Adam Medov’s arbitrary deprivation of liberty, despite having had every means to do, in breach of Article 5.

In both cases the Court found that there had been a violation of Article 13 as regards the alleged violation of Article 2 (no access to an effective remedy)

Full information at the Court’s website: http://www.echr.coe.int

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