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Russia: Compensation for Victims of Federal Troops in Chechnya

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 4, 2007, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a ruling under which Russia is obligated to pay €200,000 (about US$285,000) to three Chechen women who suffered from the unwarranted and indiscriminate use of force by the Russian military. This is a record high amount of compensation ever awarded by the Strasbourg Court. The Court found that by using military force against civilians and then denying them just compensation, Russian authorities violated the women's right to life, effective legal defense, and fair judicial review. Two of the women accidentally survived a cleansing operation conducted by the Russian army and pretended to be dead during a mass execution; the other claimant lost several relatives. The Russian authorities declined to recognize the claims, stating that involvement of the federal military in the events in question has not been established. At present, every fifth case pending before the ECHR is against the Russian Federation, and 200 of the cases originated in Chechnya. (European Court Awarded Three Chechens with Euro 200,000, NEWSRU.COM, Oct. 4, 2007.)