This summer it will have been exactly two years since the military prosecution service initiated criminal proceedings into the criminal case, opened after the tragic events, which had taken place in village Borozdinovskaya of the ChechenRepublic. As you know, in the summer of 2005 a big group of Russian military men had carried out a so-called mopping-up operation in Shelkovskoy District of Chechnya. As a result of this “campaign” four houses were burned out, and after the armed forced had left people discovered that eleven of their fellow-villagers were missing.
The investigation into the events was carried out under a veil of great secrecy, at least, from the victims. Representatives of the victims till now cannot get any information about the results of the investigation. Their letters of inquiry and requests are ignored. In response to letters of the villagers and applications of human rights defenders the prosecutor’s office replies with a standard phrase: “The investigation is pending, and the results of it will be disclosed later”.
Only at the end of the last year by sheer chance it was disclosed that the prosecutor’s office had found the “scapegoat”. It was “a certain commanding officer of one of the sub-divisions of military unit no. 44822”, who was accused of the unauthorized mopping-up operation. To the astonishment of the villagers of Borozdinovskaya and their lawyers it was also discovered that the commanding officer had been found guilty and sentenced on probation for the unauthorized military operation in a peaceful village. But who had burned out the houses and where 11 local villagers had disappeared is still unknown. At least the military prosecutor’s office of the Combined Armed Forces (OGVs) responsible for the counter-terrorism campaign in the Northern Caucasus does not know.
As it comes out from the reply, given the last week by Mr. S.N. Dyakov, an assisting prosecutor of the OGVs, “… the Department of the RF Federal Security Service in the Chechen Republic, the Task Force of the Department of Military Counterintelligence of the RF Federal Security Service in the Northern Caucasus, the Temporary Task Force of Agencies and Units of Internal Affairs in the Chechen Republic and the Shelkovskoy District Police Station are directed to search the missing villagers”.
In this connection the Human Rights NGO Nizhny Novgorod Committee Against Torture offers its help to the above agencies, and in particular to the Shelkovskoy District Police Station.
In the course of the public investigation, which was carried out by the NN Committee Against Torture into these events, we received official information that all the missing people had been detained by military personnel and officers of the SAME SHELKOVSKOY DISTRICT POLICE STATION documented this detention.
From the daily report of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic of 5 June 2005 it appears that the officer on duty of the Shelkovskoy District Police Station reported to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic, that the “Vostok” battalion of the RF Ministry of Defence in the course of the operation in village Borozdinovskaya had detained local villagers on suspicion of commission of crimes (exactly those 11 persons with their names, dates of birth and addresses). It was also stated in the report they had not been found in the database of the Information Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic (the list of persons wanted by police). This document, discovered by members of the Committee, was immediately forwarded to the military prosecutor’s office alongside a relevant request to include it into the case file. Till now we have not received any answer concerning our request.
In this connection we once again offer the military prosecution service and other law enforcement agencies, which take part in the investigation of this case, our help in the form of documentary evidence against those who had detained the above people and where they had been kept after that.
If certain high-standing officials want to conceal this information from the investigating bodies or those bodies, for some reasons, do not want to examine this grounded version concerning the involvement of state authorities in the abduction and killing of peaceful people, then, the Russian Federation will have to account for the crime and the ineffective investigation into it before the European Court of Human Rights. And Russian taxpayers will have to pay for it.