R. Kadyrov’s civil suit: the results of the first round
On 6 October 2009 the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow partially allowed the claim brought by R. Kadyrov against myself and the Memorial Human Rights Centre.
Neither I, nor my colleagues from Memorial agree with the court ruling and we plan to lodge an appeal. Should our appeal we rejected by the Moscow City Court we will approach the European Court of Human Rights.
I believe it necessary to note that during the first instance court hearings the respondents succeeded in achieving serious and detailed discussion of a number of questions including such important issues as:
- the political responsibility borne by R. Kadyrov for the murder of Natalya Estemirova;
- R. Kadyrov’s responsibility for the extremely difficult situation of independent human rights organizations in today’s Chechnya.
In substantiation of their position, the respondents presented a large number of documents, media reports, public statements by Chechen officials, including R. Kadyrov, recordings for programmes on Grozny television, our correspondence with the Prosecutor’s Office, and reports of human rights organizations.
Witnesses appearing in court recounted facts confirming our position. Even the testimony of witnesses called by the claimant, presumably against their will, presented objective proof that the words which the claimant was seeking to have refuted were true.
Each person can decide to what extent the positions of the claimant and the respondent are based on facts and norms of law by reading the records of the court hearings taken from audio recordings, documents presented for the court’s consideration or attached to the case file. This material is posted and will continue to be posted on the Memorial website (http://www.memo.ru/2009/09/10/sud.htm), as well as on various other Internet publications (in English: http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1254897081). I believe that any unbiased person will draw the obvious conclusions.
Despite the allegations repeated on a number of occasions by the claimant’s representative and the witnesses he called that Memorial (including Natalya Estemirova) circulated unchecked and unreliable information, not one specific example was presented. Even in response to a direct question from the Memorial representative, the witness from Kadyrov’s side (the head of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson in Chechnya) could not give a single detailed example. Furthermore, the witness was unable to cite a single case when the Ombudsperson’s Office sent statements either to Memorial or anywhere else dispute the information circulated by the Memorial Human Rights Centre.
In view of the above, I would express my satisfaction with the court hearings despite what is, in my view, an unjust ruling.
Head of the Council of the Memorial Human Rights Centre Council
8 October 2009