Case No. 57935/00
Judgment date: 29 November 2007
The applicant and her family were living in the Staropromyslovskiy district of Grozny during 1999-2000. From 26 December 1999, the area was occupied by Russian forces. On 11 January 2000, having decided to leave the conflict zone, the applicant and her sister called at the family home to say goodbye to their parents. They discovered the house on fire and dead bodies of her father and neighbour, both with gunshot wounds. On 6 March 2000, the charred remains of the applicant’s mother and uncle were discovered in the cellar.
A criminal investigation into the killings was opened on 3 May 2000, following which the applicant and her brother were questioned. On 20 August 2003 the investigation concluded that no crime had been committed and suggested that the applicant’s relatives had died as a result of shelling. Following the reopening of the investigation in April 2004, other witnesses were questioned, the crime scene was inspected, a ballistic report was carried out and attempts were made to identify the military units which could have been involved in the murders. The applicant’s brother was granted the status of a victim in May 2004 and the applicant herself in May 2005.
The Court noted that the applicant had provided sufficient evidence to prove that her relatives had been killed by the Russian military, and given the Government’s failure to provide any other satisfactory or convincing explanation as to what had happened, it established that the State had been responsible for the death of the applicant’s relatives. As the Government had not suggested that any exception for the use of force could be applied in the applicant’s case, the Court held that there was a violation of Article 2.
The Court further held that the Russian Government breached Article 2 by virtue of the inadequacy of its investigation into the death of the applicant’s relatives.
Given the ineffectiveness of the investigation and of lack of any other remedies, the State had failed in its obligations in violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2.
The Court further noted lack of Government’s cooperation in Convention proceedings by refusing to submit requested documents, and found that the Russian Government had failed to meet its obligations under Article 38(1)(a).
The Court awarded the applicant EUR 60,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damages.