The European Court has asked the Russian Federation about the circumstances of the horrible death of a 35-year old Chechnya resident under mortar fire


14 June 2011

Today the European Court has announced that it has started proceedings under the case concerning Raisa Kosumova’s death by requesting clarifications from Russia.

We would like to remind you that the application was filed by the Interregional Committee Against Torture on behalf of the victim’s mother at the end of 2008. The ECtHR granted the application priority status.

On 7 June 2003 a police car exploded on the road Dyshnevo-Vedeno – Kharachoy (Chechnya). Several police officers were wounded, two died on the spot. After that bombing the police summoned additional forces and shelled the forest area- where the militants were allegedly hiding- from the village of Dyshnevo-Vedeno. However, the mortar attack appeared to be inaccurate and the shells fell almost in the location of the explosion and injured two security service officers. At the same time Raisa Kosumova was driving home to Kharachoy from the village of Vedeno and also came under fires.

The regional prosecutor’s office promptly instigated criminal proceedings upon the fact of Kosumova’s death. However, the investigation was many times suspended and terminated. The perpetrators were not identified. For almost 6 years, Raisa’s mother, Ruman, was trying to study the results of the prosecutor’s office check, but in vain.

The official investigation failed to determine the person in charge of the cordon, why Kosumova had been allowed to drive through the area under mortar fire, who had ordered shelling without any precise calculation of the target location and what had been done in order to assess and prevent possible damage to civilians.

The Strasbourg Court has asked the following questions to the Russian Federation:

1.  Are the authorities responsible for shelling the Dyshne-Vedeno – Kharachoy road? Did the authorities plan and control the attack in order to minimize the threat for civilians who could be located on the road or nearby at that moment?  If not, was there a violation of Raisa Kosumova’s right to life?

2.  Was the investigation under this case sufficient for the state to comply with its obligation to conduct an effective investigation set forth in Article 2 of the Convention?

3.  Did the applicant have an effective remedy in accordance with Article 13 of the Convention?

Besides, the Russian Government is to provide copies of all materials of criminal case no. 24041 instigated upon the fact of Raisa Kosumova’s death.

It must be noted that the public investigation conducted by specialists of the Interregional Committee Against Torture revealed that Russia had violated several ECHR articles in respect of Raisa Kosumova.

Translation of the facts of the case prepared by ECtHR lawyers will soon appear on our web-site.

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