ECHR Fines Russia About 900 Thousand Euros
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Russia about 900 Thousand Euros over abduction of 13 Chechen men between 2000 and 2004.
Here is the press release:
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ECHR 058 (2014)
The European Court of Human Rights has today notified in writing the following two judgments related with Chechnya.
Zarmayev v. Belgium (no. 35/10)
The applicant, Arbi Zarmayev, is a Russian national of Chechen origin who was born in 1972 and lives in Brussels. The case concerned his extradition to Russia, which he claimed would expose him to a risk of inhuman and degrading treatment. Mr Zarmayev arrived in Belgium in 2002 and obtained political asylum there in 2005 under a false identity. In 2009 he was arrested for participating in a number of offences, including robbery. After weapons were found in his house, Mr Zarmayev was questioned by the criminal investigation department then interviewed by the office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, which withdrew his refugee status. Between 2009 and 2013, Mr Zarmayev unsuccessfully lodged four successive asylum applications. In the meantime, the Russian authorities transmitted to the Belgian authorities a request for the extradition of Mr Zarmayev, who was charged in Russia for aiding and abetting murder. Having been found guilty on the charges brought against him in Belgium, Mr Zarmayev was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment. After serving the sentence, he was kept in custody pending a decision concerning his extradition. In 2011 the Belgian authorities took the decision to extradite Mr Zarmayev. He applied to the Conseil d’État for the suspension, as a matter of extreme urgency, of the ministerial extradition order and also sought its annulment, but both actions were dismissed, in 2011 and 2013 respectively. On request by Mr Zarmayev, the European Court of Human Rights applied an interim measure in 2011 and asked the Belgian authorities not to extradite him to Russia. In his reply to the Government’s observations, Mr Zarmayev provided new information on events that he alleged to have experienced as a combatant in the Chechen wars. He also stated that he had fled his country because he was being actively pursued by the Russian army and his family were being persecuted. Mr Zarmayev alleged in particular that his extradition to the Russian Federation would entail a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).
No violation of Article 3 – in the event of the applicant’s being extradited to Russia
Interim measure (Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) – not to extradite the applicant to Russia – still in force until judgment becomes final or until further order
Dzhabrailov and others v. Russia (nos. 8620/09, 11674/09, 16488/09, 21133/09, 36354/09, 47770/09, 54728/09, 25511/10 and 32791/10)
The applicants are 32 Russian nationals who live in various districts of the Chechen Republic (Russia). They are close relatives – parents, siblings, wives or children – of 13 men, born between 1960 and 1986, who disappeared after having been arrested, between 2000 and 2004, by groups of armed men in uniforms who spoke Russian without an accent and whom the applicants took to be Russian servicemen. The applicants have not had any news of their missing relatives since the alleged arrests. Following their complaints to the authorities, official investigations were opened. They were subsequently suspended and reopened on several occasions and have remained pending for several years without having achieved any tangible results. Relying on Article 2 (right to life), the applicants complained that their relatives had disappeared after having been detained by State officials and that the authorities had failed to carry out effective investigations into the matter. They further complained of violations of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 5 (right to liberty and security) on account of the mental suffering caused to them by the disappearance of their relatives and on account of their relatives’ unlawful detention. Finally they alleged a breach of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), arguing that they had not had any remedies available in respect of their complaints.
Violation of Article 2 (right to life)
Violation of Article 2 (investigation)
Violation of Article 3 – in respect of the applicants, on account of their relatives’ disappearance and the authorities’ response to their suffering
Violation of Article 5 – in respect of the applicants’ relatives, on account of their unlawful detention
Violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Articles 2 and 3
Just satisfaction: In applications nos. 11674/09, 16488/09, 21133/09, 54728/09, 25511/10 and 32791/10, the Court awarded each applicant between EUR 3,000 and EUR 15,000 in respect of pecuniary damage; in all nine applications, it awarded between EUR 60,000 and EUR 180,000 per application in respect of non-pecuniary damage; and, in applications nos. 8620/09, 11674/09, 16488/09, 21133/09, 36354/09, 47770/09, 25511/10 and 32791/10, it awarded between EUR 2,400 and EUR 3,000 per application in respect of costs and expenses.