Published: 12 Jul 2017

Human rights violations by the Russian security forces in the North Caucasus

Case Summary

A record of judgments from the the North Caucasus by the European Court of Human Rights

The first ever judgments concerning gross human rights violations in the North Caucasus were delivered by the European Court of Human Rights on 24 February 2005 in six precedent-setting cases co-litigated by EHRAC and Memorial Human Rights Centre. Since then, the Court has found Russian State agents responsible for indiscriminate bombing, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and abductions in Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia in over 250 cases. A summary database of these cases can be downloaded in Excel and PDF (last updated 12 July 2017).

Katyr-Yurt in Chechnya, heavily damaged by bombing in February 2000. Photos by Jonathan Littell, displayed on Forensic Architecture.
Katyr-Yurt in Chechnya, heavily damaged by bombing in February 2000. Photos by Jonathan Littell, displayed on Forensic Architecture.

The cases concern violations resulting from, or relating to, the actions of Russian security forces during so-called anti-terrorist operations between 1999 and 2006. In most cases, the Court also highlighted the systemic issue whereby the applicants had no effective domestic remedy, and that no effective criminal investigation had taken place into alleged abuses.

A summary database of these cases can be downloaded in Excel and PDF (last updated 12 July 2017).

What were the first six judgments about?
Khashiyev and Akayeva v Russia The torture and extra-judicial execution of five of the applicants’ relatives in Grozny (the Chechen capital) in January 2000. Their bodies were found with numerous gunshot wounds.
Isayeva v Russia The indiscriminate bombing of the Chechen village of Katyr-Yurt in February 2000. As a result of the bombing, the applicant’s son and her three nieces were killed. The Court reiterated its findings of State responsibility for civilian deaths and a lack of an effective investigation in two further cases related to this bombing in 2010 (Abuyeva and others v Russia) and 2015 (Abakarova v Russia).
Isayeva, Yusupova and Bazayeva v Russia The indiscriminate bombing of civilians leaving Grozny by car in October 1999. Due to the bombing, the first applicant was wounded and her two children and sister-in-law were killed, the second applicant was wounded and the third applicant’s cars were destroyed.

Implementation of this vast body of 247 judgments, known as the Khashiyev and Akayeva group, remains problematic, as the Russian authorities have failed to take adequate steps to provide redress to victims and their relatives beyond the payment of compensation. EHRAC and Memorial regularly brief the Committee of Ministers (the Council of Europe institution responsible for the implementation of Court judgments) on the progress of these cases. These briefings are crucial for maintaining pressure on the Russian Government to provide redress for victims and their families.