European rights court blames Russia for more killings in Chechnya

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday found Russia responsible for the death of three Chechens during an armed raid in the restive province’s capital, and ordered Moscow to pay their relative €60,000 (US,428) in damages.The three died in January 2000, when Grozny came under heavy bombardment by the Russian military. The house where they had been hiding was set on fire, and they burnt to death. One of them also had gun wounds.

Their relative, who lodged the case with the Strasbourg court, “had provided sufficient evidence to prove that (they) had been killed by the Russian military … Therefore, the court established that the state had been responsible for the deaths,” the court said. It also said the authorities had failed to carry out a proper investigation.

The verdict is another in a growing series of rulings against Russia concerning the Chechen wars. Moscow has been ordered by the human rights court to pay the victims or their relatives hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars).

Russia has three months to appeal. Dozens of similar cases are pending before the Strasbourg court.

Moscow has denied that its security forces are guilty of atrocities in the southern Muslim republic of Chechnya, where two wars have been fought to re-establish Russian control following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But survivors and relatives of Chechen victims have recently sought – and won – reparations from the Strasbourg-based human rights court.

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