Why we must protect and save the European Court of Human Rights
The perspective of one of the first Chechen applicants
EHRAC was founded in 2003 to take cases of human rights violations originating from the Chechen conflict, including indiscriminate bombings, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. Six of these cases, including Libkan Bazayeva’s, were decided on 24 February 2005, the very first from Chechnya to be decided by an international body. Libkan’s car was hit by a bomb on 29 October 1999 as she and her family were trying to leave a suburb of Grozny to escape fighting between Chechen separatists and Russian State forces. Libkan applied to the Court, along with Medka Isayeva and Zina Yusupova (also victims of the bombing) in April 2000. The Court found that Russia had failed in its duty to protect her right to life, in violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights; according to the Court, the State had also failed to conduct an effective, objective and thorough investigation, therefore Libkan did not have access to an effective remedy, in violation of Article 13 in conjunction with the procedural limb of Article 2. Finally, given that Libkan’s family’s vehicles and household items had been destroyed as a result of the aerial attack, the Court found grave and unjustified interferences with her peaceful enjoyment of her possessions in violation of Article 1 of Protocol 1.
In this article, Libkan explains the important role the judgment from the European Court of Human Rights has played in providing her and those around her with hope of redress.