The ECHR awarded 20 000 euro to the relatives of the woman killed as a result of mortar attack in Chechnya in 2003


16 October 2014

Today, on 16 October 2014, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Raisa Kosumova’s death in 2003 as a result of mortar attack of the motor road Dyshne-Vedeno — Kharachoy in Chechen Republic. The court established that the Russian authorities did not conduct appropriate investigation of Raisa’s death and awarded 20 000 euro to the victim’s relatives for compensation.

( Raisa Kosumova)

The circumstances of this case are the following. On 7 June 2003 about 5 p.m. UAZ car with officers of Vedensky District Department of Interior and Prosecutor’s office was ieded on the motor road Dyshne-Vedeno — Kharachoy. Several people were injured, two died at the scene.    

After the explosion the law-enforcement officers called for reinforcement. In 1 hour 15 minutes an armored unit, Vedensky District military command operational reconnaissance  platoon and FSB task force arrived to the place of the bomb attack. The military rescue troops performed some small-arms shooting in the direction of Gazgina mountain. Apart from that, the support force conducted mortar attack from the direction of  Dyshne-Vedeno at the mountain-woody terrain where the assumed bombers hid. But the attack turned out to be very imprecise and the shells virtually hit the spot of the recent UAZ explosion.    

At that time Raisa Kosumova was driving her car GAZ-66 from Vedeno village to Kharachoy village and came under fires. Her severe head injury left her no changes of survival and she died at the scene. Two FSB officers also were injured as a result of mortar fire.   

As is often the case, mischances never come single, and Kosumov family soon was struck by yet another mishap. Three days after Raisa’s elderly father Alikhazhi Kosumov learned about his daughter’s death he died himself, having failed to cope with his grief.   

After Raisa’s death her mother Ruman Kosumova applied to the Prosecutor’s office of Vedensky District. She was informed that a criminal case was opened based on this fact. However, she wasn’t provided with any written documents in this regard. Furthermore, for two and a half years Ruman in vain attempted to learn about any progress in the investigation, filed various motions to competent authorities, having never received a single reply.   

In 2005 Ruman Kosumova applied to human rights defenders of the Committee Against Torture asking for legal assistance and complaining against inaction of the authorities.   

The criminal case in connection to Raisa Kosumova’s death for many years was repeatedly suspended on the grounds that all possible investigative steps had not led to identification of the perpetrators. Furthermore, during all this period neither Ruman Kosumova nor her representatives could even familiarize themselves with the materials of the criminal proceedings.   

Taking into account that the investigative authorities after such a long period of time still failed to perform investigative activities that could be performed without the accused, human rights defenders came to a logical conclusion: the investigation process was just a formality with well-predicted result.  

In this respect the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Ruman Kosumova. In today’s decision the Strasbourg judges unanimously established that Russian authorities did not conduct adequate investigation of Raisa Kosumova’s death.   Alas, the ECHR failed to establish the involvement of the security forces in relation to her death, but this was caused by scarce materials of the criminal case which were submitted by the Russian Federation to Strasbourg.     

Unfortunately, Raisa Kosumova’s mother didn’t live to see this decision, she died in 2012, that is why Abdula Kosumov, a brother of the woman killed under fire is going to receive the compensation. 

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