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Court: Russia to Pay Chechens

  International  -   POSTED: 2007/07/27 09:13

The European Court of Human Rights ordered the Russian government to pay damages of $196,000 to the family members of 11 Chechen civilians killed by Russian soldiers in 2000.

The court, in a Thursday ruling, suggested that by not bringing the soldiers to justice, Russian prosecutors had implicitly accepted the massacre in Novye Aldi, when security forces rampaged through the town, setting fire to houses and killing at least 50 civilians.

``The astonishing ineffectiveness of the prosecuting authorities in this case can only be qualified as acquiescence in the events,'' the court said in its decision.

Moscow has denied that its security forces are guilty of atrocities in the southern Muslim republic of Chechnya, where two wars have been fought to re-establish Russian control following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But relatives of Chechen victims have recently been seeking reparations from the Strasbourg-based human rights court - and winning.

Russia said last week that it wanted to restrict the flow of appeals to the court by allowing its citizens to file human rights cases against the state in Russian courts - something they cannot do now.

Chechens have opposed this move, saying they fear the government wants to deprive them of their only hope for justice.

The court has issued more than 10 verdicts against Russia in the past few months in cases concerning the Chechen wars. Some 200 are still pending.


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