The Russian Federation will again have to answer a number of unpleasant questions about the facts of just another abduction committed by security forces agents in the Chechen Republic.
You may remember that on 4 July 2005 about 100 unidentified servicemen of the Russian Defense Ministry, garrisoned in the Chechen Republic, raided the village of Borozdinovskaya located in the Shelkovskoy District, Chechen Republic. They killed one man and took eleven more men in an unknown direction.
In 2005 the Chechen authorities acknowledged that servicemen of Vostok battalion of the Russian Defense Ministry had taken part in the operation. The battalion was then headed by Hero of Russia Sulim Yamadaev.
The investigation into the events was carried out under a veil of great secrecy, at least, in respect of victims. Victims’ representatives cannot get any information about the results of the investigation yet. Their letters of inquiry and requests are ignored. In response to letters of village residents and applications of human rights defenders the prosecutor’s office replies with a standard phrase: “The investigation is underway, its results will be disclosed later”.
Only at the end of last year, by sheer chance, it was disclosed that the prosecutor’s office had found a “scapegoat”. It was “a certain commanding officer of one of the sub-divisions of military unit no. 44822”, who was accused of conducting an unauthorized raid. Borozdinovskaya residents and their lawyers were astonished to discover that the commanding officer had been found guilty and sentenced to probation for an unauthorized military operation in a peaceful village. But even the investigative authorities did not know who had burnt the households and how 11 local residents had disappeared. According to the Military Investigative Committee, “they have exhausted all opportunities to find missing people. They are not found in any remand prison”.
Right after the described events a Joint Mobile Group of Russian human rights defenders arrived at Borozdinovskaya to conduct a public investigation and managed to obtain a daily summary prepared by the duty officer of the Schelkovsky District Department of Internal Affairs which read that 11 Borozdinovskaya residents had been detained during the special operation and contained full information about them with a note that it had been checked via the Chechen Interior Ministry Information Centre Database. In the opinion of human rights defenders, there can be no doubt that security forces agents are involved in the abduction. However, the authorities did not consider such possibility during the pre-trial investigation at all.
ICAT lawyers have no doubt about the outcome of the proceedings in the ECtHR. There will be another disgraceful judgment proving that our country is totally incapable of protecting its citizens.