Abuses by security forces and law enforcement
At the core of EHRAC’s work is the commitment to supporting victims and civil society to fight impunity for grave human rights violations perpetrated by security forces. Together with our partners we have successfully litigated cases of arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other ill-treatment, extrajudicial killings; discrimination; and unlawful restrictions on freedom of expression and association by security forces across our region.
Alongside our partners we have brought almost 200 cases representing nearly 600 victims of enforced disappearances perpetrated by Russian security forces between 1999 and 2006 before the European Court of Human Rights. In almost all cases the Court has held Russia responsible for the disappearances. In the years since the Court’s judgments, we have continued to work closely with our partners to support families who still do not know the fate of their loved ones to advocate before various international mechanisms.
Justice for Beslan victims
EHRAC and Memorial HRC represented many families of the victims of the Beslan school siege, one of the darkest episodes in Russia’s history, in a case taken before the European Court of Human Rights. On 1 September 2004, armed Chechen separatists took 1128 people (including 886 children) hostage for three days in a school gymnasium in Beslan, North Ossetia. On the third day, Russian security forces stormed the school, armed with battlefield weapons. 331 people, including 186 children, died in the ensuing firefight. In September 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there had been serious failings in the authorities’ response to the siege and that the security forces had used disproportionate force to end it. Russia was ordered to pay a total of €2.9m in damages to the victims.