ECHR Fines Russia 300 Thousand Euros
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Russia around 300,000 Euros for killing a Chechen mother and her five children during a military aircraft bombing in 2004, the court said in a statement today.
Here is the press release:
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ECHR 226 (2012)
Mother and Her Five Young Children Die in a Russian Military Bombardment
In today’s Chamber judgment in the case Damayev v. Russia (application no. 36150/04), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
two violations of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, as a result of the death of Mr Damayev’s wife and five children, and the lack of an effective investigation into it; and
no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).
The applicant, Imar-Ali Damayev, is a Russian national who was born in 1961 and lives in the village of Rigakhoy, Shatoy District (Chechen Republic).
The case concerned the death of Mr Damayev’s wife and five children, aged four or younger, when military aircrafts bombed their village on 8 April 2004 and destroyed their house. As Mr Damayev and his eldest son were not at home at the time, they survived.
An investigation opened a few days later concluded that the house had not been bombed, but had been destroyed in an explosion caused from within by an artillery shell kept there. Despite specific requests from the Court, the Russian Government did not disclose the documents in the investigation file, except for the records of two inspections of the scene carried out in April 2004.
Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court
Relying in particular on Articles 2, 3, 8 (right to private and family life), 13 (right to an effective remedy) and on Article 1 of Protocol No 1 (protection of property), Mr Damayev complained about the killing of his wife and children, the absence of an effective investigation into their death, as well as about the destruction of his house.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 7 October 2004.
Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows:
Nina Vajić (Croatia), President,
Anatoly Kovler (Russia),
Elisabeth Steiner (Austria),
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”),
Julia Laffranque (Estonia),
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece),
Erik Mose (Norway),
and also André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar.
Decision of the Court
Article 2 (right to life and investigation)
The Court noted that it was undisputed between the parties that there had been an aerial bombardment of the Rigakhoy area on 8 April 2004. Given that five young children had been in the house at the time, the Court did not consider probable the Government’s position that Mr Damayev’s house had been destroyed, and his relatives killed, by an explosive handled at the time by someone within the house. In the absence of any reasonable explanation about what had happened, the Court concluded that Mr Damayev’s wife and children had been killed by a federal military aerial attack, in violation of Article 2.
Given that the authorities had not conducted an effective investigation into their deaths, there had been another violation of Article 2.
Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment)
Given that Mr Damayev’s wife and children had died instantaneously, and had not been detained or disappeared, the Court found that there had been no violation of Article 3, despite the anguish, distress and suffering experienced by Mr Damayev.
The Court further rejected the complaints under Article 8 and Article 1 of Protocol No 1, as it found that Mr Damayev had failed to substantiate them. It also rejected his complaints under Article 13, finding either that it was not necessary to examine them or that they were unfounded.
Article 41 (just satisfaction)
The Court held that Russia was to pay Mr Damayev 300,000 euros (EUR) in respect of nonpecuniary damage, and EUR 442 for costs and expenses.