Missing and not forgotten. The European Court communicated complaints on disappearing people in Chechnya

Событие | Пресс центр

14 February 2018

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of the relatives of Husein Badurgov and Khadizhat Elimkhanova, received a notification from the European Court of Human Rights concerning the communication of complaints about these people missing in Chechnya. The European Court asked the Russian Federation some questions on whether the authorities performed effective investigation of these cases.

(Husein Badurgov)

In July 2012, Husein Badurgov together with his young wife and a seven-months old daughter moved from Ingushetia to Grozny in order to get a job. On 10 July at about 9 a.m. Husein called his sister Petimat and told her that he intended to go to a job interview to one of the Grozny shops. After the job interview he called again and started to tell about its results. At that time Petimat heard some man addressing Husein, and after that the communication broke. She started to call her brother back, but no one answered. Since that time Husein never made contact. All subsequent attempts of his relatives to find him of obtain information about his whereabouts were in vain.

On the next day Husein’s father filed an application about his missing son in the District Department of the Interior of the Zavodsky District of Grozny. A day later Husein’s relatives applied to the Investigative Committee.

The criminal case based on the fact of the person’s missing was opened only two months after, which prevented from necessary investigative activities at the initial, most important, stage of the investigation. Later on, the investigators time after time suspended the criminal case, without having performed the necessary actions, many of which have already lost their value by now. For example, all possible witnesses in case were not questioned, the subscribers who talked to Badurgov over the phone were not established or questioned as witnesses, it was not established whether Badurgov was in the territory of Ingushetia on the day of his disappearance, taking into account that his phone was detected on that day at Nesterovskaya village of the Sunzhensky District of the Republic of Ingushetia. These and many other drawbacks in the course of the investigation were repeatedly pointed out by the Scientific Investigation Division and by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Chechen republic, but they have never been rectified.

Considering the investigation of this case to be ineffective, on 5 April 2016 human rights defenders submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Husein’s mother, Madnyat Dyshneyeva.

At the present time, the investigative authorities failed both to identify the whereabouts of Husein and find the persons involved in his disappearance. The criminal case is once more suspended.
 
The second communicated complaint concerns Khadizhat Elimkhanova, who was abducted in Grozny on 6 July 2013.

(Khadijat Elimkhanova)

As we have previously reported, on 30 August 2013 Lilya Khasiyeva applied for legal assistance to the Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders working in the Chechen Republic. She reported that on 6 July 2013 in Grozny two men forced her daughter Khadizhat Elimkhanova to get in the car, after that they went in unidentified direction. From the witnesses Lilya learned that one of the abductors was wearing a military camouflage and had a gun on him. The abduction of Elimkhanova was recorded by a video surveillance camera of the shop near the scene of action. One of the witnesses told the human rights defenders that she saw on the videotape one of the abductors in the military camouflage giving Elimkhanova a blow on the head. It is known from the other witness that on the day of the abduction two men were looking for Elimkhanova, one of them was armed and was wearing a military uniform.

Only on 24 July 2013 the criminal case was opened based on the fact of Khadizhat’s abduction. However, the investigation of the case, performed by the Investigative Department for Staropromyslovsky District of Grozny, was repeatedly suspended without conducting investigative activities, the necessity of which was pointed out by the management of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic.

During the public inquiry performed by the human rights defenders, the evidence was obtained which is sufficient for establishing that the investigation of the criminal case based on the fact of Elimkhanova’s abduction was inefficient.

As it is pointed out in the complaint filed to the ECHR, the case was opened only 18 days after the abduction, which prevented from performing investigative activities at the initial (most important) stage of the investigation in a timaly manner. The car which the abductors used was not identified and found, though the vehicle registration number is known to the investigation. The results of the expert review of the video recording device which recorded the moment of Elimkhanova’s abduction were not obtained.

At the present time, the investigative authorities failed to identify the whereabouts of Khadizhat and find the persons involved in his disappearance. The criminal case is once more suspended.

Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of the relatives of Husein Badurgov and Khadizhat Elimkhanova, received a notification from the European Court of Human Rights concerning the communication of complaints about these people missing in Chechnya.

“Our complaints were joined in the framework of communication to the Russian authorities with another two complaints related to violent disappearances. The European Court have repeatedly passed rulings on similar complaints concerning missing people in the Chechen Republic and declared the problem of failure to investigate these crimes as a system one, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – This problem demands that Russia takes urgent raft of complex measures of general nature, which the Court mentioned in its ruling on the case “Aslakhanova and others v. Russia” back in 2012. Most of the recent documents, in particular, the report of the Committee of the European Council Ministers, demonstrate that these problems remain unresolved to a significant degree”.