Through a new law on compensation for victims of counter-terrorism operations, Russia will try to stop Chechens from appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This statement was made today by Georgy Matyushkin, the representative of the Russian Federation in the Strasbourg court.
The new legislation is presently developed by a working group in the Russian Parliament.
According to Matyushkin, the European judges go beyond the limits of their competence when they handle cases from Chechnya. He criticizes “the improper presumption that everyone who is missing has been killed”. According to Matyushkin, Turkey has succeeded to prevent victims of the fight against the Kurdish PKK by similar legislative means in 2004.
Russia has the biggest amount of appeals in the Court of Human Rights among all member states. There has been made decisions in more than 100 cases originating from Chechnya, and the court has invariably ruled against Russia in all cases. Some thousand of other cases from Chechnya are now pending in the court. The order of the Court have mainly been made unanimously, including the Russian judge joining the majority.
Basically, the Court handles cases where member states do not fulfill their obligations according to “The European Convention on Human Rights“, which has been signed by all 47 member states. Thus, the possibilities to prevent citizens from applying to the Court by means of internal legislation should be quite questionable.
Regarding Chechnya, a big amount of people are still missing, which is related to the fact that several tens and maybe hundreds of mass graves have not been investigated, as the present regime does not allow such investigations. Altogether some 260.000 people have died in Chechnya during the military campaigns started by Yeltsin in 1994 and Putin in 1999. The war is still going on.
An attempt to enhance the procedures of the Court, the so-called Protocol 14, has been signed by 46 member states, but the 47th member, Russia, has been blocking this reform already during some years.