03 October 2008

 In 1035th Committee of Ministers Human Rights meeting on enforcement of ECtHR judgments the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe issued a memorandum on violations of the ECHR in the Chechen Republic and Russia’s compliance with the European Court’s judgments.

The Committee of Ministers was glad to registers positive changes in Russia’s activity targeted at eliminating tortures and disappearances in Chechnya, however, it underlined that one of the most difficult issues in connection with the so called Chechnya cases was the problem of effective investigation on the domestic level. The Committee of Ministers proposed to continue working in this direction together.   

In its turn, the Interregional Committee against Torture also prepared a report on human rights observance in Chechnya. The report named “Tortures and peculiarities of their official investigation in Chechnya. ECtHR’s position” is a result of analysis carried out on the basis of cases in procedure at the Chechen representation of the Committee. You can read the report in the section “Library of the Committee against Torture”.

Since 2005 the Strasbourg court has delivered more than 20 judgments concerning disappearance and death of civilians in Chechnya during military operations. Under each of the abovementioned cases the ECtHR   found violations of European Convention articles and awarded just compensations to the applicants.

According to the established practice, besides paying pecuniary compensations to victims, Russia should also change its internal legislation and legal practice in order to prevent new similar violations in the future. The Strasbourg Court calls such activity “general measures”. The Committee of Ministers, another body of the Council of Europe, supervises the adoption and implementation of these measures.

The report named “Actions of the security forces in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation: general measures to comply with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights” was prepared by lawyers of the Council of Europe basing on the information provided by the RF.

It should be mentioned that the first part of the Memorandum was considered non-confidential and is available in the internet. In December the Committee of Ministers will revise the second part of the Memorandum.

The report contains recommendations to ensure safeguards in police custody, suggestions for further reform of Russian investigation and prosecution bodies as well as training of law enforcement agents on European human rights standards.

It is worth mentioning that the Committee of Ministers is preparing a similar report on the case of Alexey Mikheyev.

Soon the Interregional Committee against Torture will provide a Russian version of the Memorandum (“Actions of the security forces in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation: general measures to comply with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”).

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