Long-term work for justice delivers results 2008

Of the 163 cases reported up until now by The Swedish Helsinki Committee and The Russian Justice Initiative (RJI) to The European Court of Justice , 36 have been resolved, 25 of them in 2008. In all the cases, the judgement has been that Russia is guilty of gross violation of human rights in northern Caucasus. On December 4th, eight cases were resolved. The Swedish Helsinki Committee and The Russian Justice Initiative had pursued five of these.

The decisions mean that the victims and their families are awarded some compensation for many years of fighting the Russian judiciary. The financial reward is also significant for families who have often lost their main breadwinner.

The work in northern Caucasus is long-term and builds on the assumption that people are brave enough to report unjust actions. As more dare to report, a signal is sent to the Russian authorities that people are not going to forget injustice, says Erik Esbjörnson, spokesman for the OSS region at the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

The judgement of December 4th lays down that Russia has violated the right to life in seven of a total of eight cases from Chechnya. Russia is guilty of inhumane treatment of families that reported unjust actions to the authorities. Russia is also accused of obstructing the work of The European Court of Justice by refusing to deliver documents from the investigations.

The growing number of cases involving Russia that have been judged by The European Court of Justice has, according to the RJI, started to get recognition in the media and several periodicals have published articles about the cases from Chechnya. This is positive for the ongoing efforts.

Our work will, hopefully, lead to increased awareness about The European Court of Justice and The European Convention with the general public and the Russian judiciary, which in the long run means that reports about crimes against human rights will increase, says Esbjörnsson.

In January 2008, the European Court of Justice gave its first judgement in a case of gross violation of human rights in the Ingush Republic, bordering on Chechnya. The case involved Khalid Khatsiyev and Kazbek Akiyev who were killed when a military helicopter opened fire on the fields where they were working, near the village of Arshty, in August 2000.

The Swedish Helsinki Committee works together with the Russian human rights organisation, Russian Justice Initiative, investigating and pursuing cases of gross violation of human rights in northern Caucasus, to the European Court of Human Rights. Russian Justice Initiative offers legal advice free of charge to victims and their families and investigates cases where people have been arbitrarily deprived of their freedom, tortured, disappeared or illegally executed.

Categories: Achievements.
Tags: European Court of Human Rights and Russian Justice Initiative.
Regions: The North Caucasus.