The European Court of Human Rights will examine the death of six civilians from Chechnya, including two
Today specialists of the Interregional Committee against Torture have filed an application claiming violation of the right to life in respect of six citizens of Chechnya who died in February 2000 as a result of a missile strike carried out by the federal forces. The application was lodged with the ECtHR on behalf of the relatives of the deceased.
The facts of the case are as follows. In October 1999 the war in Chechnya started. Peaceful citizens began leaving Grozny. They went to safe locations, mountain areas, hoping to escape the fights.
Trying to stay away from the war and preserve their lives, Alimat Satuyeva, her two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren went to the village of Khal-Keloy in the Shatoy district. In the village the family stayed in Surkho Asuyev’s house.
On 20 February 2000 Russian troops entered Khal-Keloy. The authorities had not warned the citizens about possible missile attacks and bombardments and had not advised them to relocate to a safer area.
Approximately at 11:30 the village population saw a column of the federal troops moving in their direction. The column encompassed several armoured vehicles, hundreds of soldiers; it was accompanied by helicopters moving in circles above it. The column stopped near the village and opened aimed fire. The attack lasted for an hour, the troops used small arms and gun armed vehicles. As a result of the shooting, several houses burnt down, including Asuyev’s house.
When the troops ceased fire, the neighbours who knew that there were women and children in Asuyev’s house, rushed to the house to help them, but they were stopped by shots in the air. The military waited for the house to burn down completely and only after that they left. The column also drove away. The village people ran to the house, but there was only the foundation left. They knew that there was a basement in the house and started clearing the entrance into it. The surface was very hot, the ashes were still glowing. Therefore they poured cold water on themselves and took turns to go down to the basement to take the corpses out. There were six bodies altogether, among the deceased there were Alimat Satuyeva, born in 1937; Rukman Amsadov, born in 1965; Dagmara Khajiyeva, born in 1980; Kameta Magomadova, born in 1978; and two babies – Isa Khajiyev, born in 1999; Kheda Magomadova, born in 1999.
The investigation on the domestic level gave no results. The investigation authorities issued many refusals to open a criminal case. Criminal proceedings have never been instigated.
In course of public investigation the Interregional Committee against Torture has determined that the state breached articles 2 and 13 of the ECHR in respect of six RF citizens.