Beslan relatives go to Strasbourg

Beslan Relatives File Appeal in Strasbourg

A group of relatives of the victims of the September 2004 Beslan tragedy have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, charging that their rights to life, to an objective investigation and to an effective legal defense as set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights were violated. ITAR-Tass, on June 26, quoted Ella Kesaeva, leader of the Voice of Beslan public committee, which initiated the 50-page complaint, as saying it was signed by 89 people and set out the victims’ version of events and the facts relating to their own investigation, which, in the view of the victims, prove that senior military and civilian officials are to blame for the deaths of the hostages. “We enclosed with the complaint the copies of all requests we filed with the courts that examined aspects of the terrorist act, which have been unjustifiably rejected,” Kesaeva said.

A report by State Duma deputy Yury Savelyev found that federal troops fired grenades into Beslan’s School No. 1 while hostages were still inside and that the commandos’ actions may have prompted the bloody firefight that killed 331 hostages, more than half of whom were children (Chechnya Weekly, June 1, 2006).

Earlier this month, the Truth of Beslan NGO reported that North Ossetian police were warned several weeks before the Beslan attack that rebels were planning a major hostage-taking attack in the republic. As the Moscow Times reported on June 20, the Truth of Beslan website posted a photocopy of an August 18, 2004 teletype message from North Ossetia’s deputy interior minister, identified as Batrbek Dzutsev, to police chiefs throughout the republic specifically warning that rebels were planning to take hostages at a civilian facility. The teletype message said the rebels would congregate in areas adjacent to the border between North Ossetia and Ingushetia in mid-August to plan an attack modeled after the 1995 Chechen rebel raid on the southern town of Budennovsk. In three other teletype messages to local police chiefs posted on the Truth of Beslan website, Dzutsev and other senior police officials demanded that security be beefed up at the Ingush-Ossetian border and at schools to prevent terrorist attacks on September 1, the first day of school. They also instructed policemen on the ground to make dirt roads from Ingushetia to North Ossetia unfit for automobile traffic.

A court found three Beslan police officers guilty of negligence for failing to stop the gunmen, but they were immediately amnestied. On June 27, the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria found the police chief of Ingushetia’s Malgobek district, Mukhazhir Yevloev, and his deputy, Akhmed Kotiyev, guilty of negligence for allegedly failing to prevent the militants who attacked Beslan from setting up a training and staging camp in Ingushetia.


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  1. The relatives of the victims in Dubrovka (“Nord-Ost”) also turns to legal bodies, Chechnya Weekly, July 12, 2007—Volume VIII, Issue 28 reports 12.7.2007:

    – Relatives of Dubrovka Victims Want Those in Charge of “Rescue” Prosecuted

    Relatives of the victims of the October 2002 hostage-taking at Moscow’s Dubrovka theater center have asked the Prosecutor-General’s Office to file criminal charges against members of the operational headquarters for saving the hostages, reported on July 11. “We will never excuse the terrorists and will never forgive the state,” Tatyana Karpova, leader of the “Nord-Ost” public organization, told a press conference. She noted that the Prosecutor-General’s Office had launched a criminal case only for the seizure of the hostages, but not for the deaths that occurred during the storming of the theater by security forces. A total of 912 people in the theater were taken hostage by Chechen militants, 130 of whom died – five shot by the terrorists and 125 during the storming of the theater. Forty terrorists – 21 men and 19 women – were also killed. The “Nord-Ost” group says that medical assistance to the hostages in the immediate aftermath of the storming was not properly organized. The group also charges that the security forces that stormed the theater used an incapacitating gas that adversely affected the hostages but did not have an antidote. The operational headquarters for saving the hostages was headed by then Deputy Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Vladimir Pronichev (who has since been promoted to the post of First Deputy FSB Director) and then Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Vasliev (who today is the chairman of the State Duma’s Security Committee).

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