“If a crime is not registered in law enforcement agencies, then it did not take place…”


03 May 2007
Photo: village Khal-Kiloy, the Chechen Republic – the place where the crime, which “was not committed”, happened.

 Exactly so believes a deputy military prosecutor of military unit no. 20119, lieutenant colonel of justice R.P. Tarshis. He made this conclusion in the decision of refusal to initiate a criminal case made after NN Committee Against Torture had complained of the murders of 6 peaceful citizens which had happened in 2000. The murder was committed by unidentified military men in the course of a mopping-up operation in village Khal-Kiloy. Among the victims there was a one-year-old child.

    However, even this decision was obtained only after a complaint had been lodged with the military prosecutor of the Combined Armed Forces (OGVS). At the outset, lieutenant colonel Tarshis dismissed the case outright, saying that 6 years had already passed and he was unable to identify the murderers.

    Lawyers of the Chechen Office of the NN Committee Against Torture wanted to file a complaint against the decision of refusal to open a criminal case to a court. However, there was no need in it. Lieutenant colonel Tarshis by his cynical and shocking actions startled even his chief – the first deputy of the military prosecutor of the OGVS, colonel of justice V.I. Kalita, who, having examined the decision of Mr. Tarshis and the file of the so-called inquiry, revoked it. In his decision (p.1p.2) Mr. Kalita directly stated that the decision of refusal to initiate a criminal case, adopted by Mr. Tarshis, was unlawful and premature, and set out a number of measures to be taken. For example, Mr. Tarshis had not found it necessary to interview relatives of the victims and witnesses, to examine the scene of the murders, to send necessary letters of inquiry for various documents, which could corroborate the fact of the deaths, etc.   

    Lawyers of the Committee hope that the case of the murders of a child and its five relatives will be taken under special control of the prosecutor’s office of the OGVS, and prosecution officials will not make other violations of law.

    On their part, experts of the Chechen Office of the Committee will forward a statement to the prosecutor of the OGVS requiring him to carry out an internal inquiry in respect of lieutenant colonel Tarshis and to call him to account for multiple violations of law and the victims’ rights.

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