Russia wants to restrict the flow of appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, where a growing number of Chechens have been winning cases against the Russian government.
The country's Supreme Court this week described plans to allow its citizens to file human rights cases against the state in Russian courts -- something they cannot do now. The government says the changes will make it easier for Russian to protect their rights without turning to the European court.
But Chechens -- who say they are often subject to torture, summary executions, indiscriminate bombings and forced disappearances -- fear the government wants to deprive them of their only hope for justice.
But Russian authorities have denied that military and security forces are guilty of atrocities in the southern Muslim republic of Chechnya, where two wars have been fought to impose Moscow's control. But they have restricted journalists' access to the area.
When Chechens go to police with allegations of abuse, their cases rarely make it to court, leaving victims with little choice but to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The court, in Strasbourg, France, has issued at least 10 verdicts against Russia in the past few months in cases concerning the Chechen wars. Some 200 are still pending.
Rights advocates say Russian President Vladimir Putin's government is irritated by the international exposure of atrocities in Chechnya brought by each new case.
Fatima Bazorkina's is one such case: Watching the news on Russian channel NTV in February 2000, she said, she saw a Russian officer ordering her son to be killed.
"Kill him, damn it. ... Get him over there, shoot him," the officer said, Bazorkina recalled over the phone from her home in Ingushetia, a region bordering Chechnya.
Bazorkina has not seen her son, Khodzhimurad Yandiyev, since. Authorities said her son had been abducted by unknown men.
The officer Bazorkina said she saw ordering her son's killing, later identified as Colonel-General Alexander Baranov, has been promoted, according to the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative, which helps victims of rights abuses in the North Caucasus -- the troubled region that includes Chechnya -- seek justice at home and in Strasbourg.
The European Court ruled in March that Russian authorities were responsible for Yandiyev's presumed death and failed to adequately investigate.
The court said the suffering caused to his mother qualified as inhumane and degrading treatment and ordered the government to pay her 35,000 euros (US$48,400).
Russians have been able to appeal to the Strasbourg court since their country ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998.
Russians now file more complaints with the court than citizens of any other European country. By the beginning of this year, they had filed about 20,000 cases against the state, according to Russia's Constitutional Court.
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,