The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Russia responsible for the unlawful abduction and killing of five residents of Chechnya in 2017.
The court delivered their judgement on Tuesday. The deceased were accused by the authorities either of involvement in terrorismor of being homosexuals.
In the summer of 2017, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an investigation by journalist Yelena Milashina about the mass execution of Chechen residents in the Kadyrov Police Department. The investigation cited the names of 27 people who were executed on the night of 26 January 2017 in the basement of the police station in the Chechen capital, Grozny.
Novaya Gazeta, together with human rights organisations, submitted evidence of the alleged massacres to the Investigative Committee of Russia. Investigators refused to initiate a criminal case seven times — the last time in February 2018.
The newspaper noted that the list of those killed that evening could be incomplete and may be as high as 56 people.
The court recognised a violation of four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty and security, and the right to an effective remedy. The court awarded the relatives of those killed a total of €367,000 ($410,000).
The applicants were represented by the Legal Initiative organisation, which is included in the Russian Government’s list of ‘foreign agents’ in Russia.
The court kept the applicants and their killed relatives anonymous due to the danger they may face, as some of them still reside in Chechnya.