Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Strasbourg Court Awards $1.6 Mln against Russia over Moscow Theater Terror Siege

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has awarded about 1.25 million Euros against the Russian government in favor of victims of the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis. On October 23, 2002 a group of terrorists belonging to the Chechen separatist movement took hostages in the “Dubrovka” theater in Moscow (also known as the “Nord-Ost” theater). For three days, 912 people were held at gunpoint in the theater’s auditorium. The terrorists refused to surrender, so in the early morning of October 26, 2002, the Russian security forces pumped an unknown gas into the main auditorium through the building’s ventilation system. When the terrorists lost consciousness under the influence of the gas, the special squad stormed the building. As a result of the operation the majority of the hostages were released (over 730 people). However, a large number of hostages were affected by the gas; 130 hostages died on the spot, in hospitals or on their way there, and some of those who survived continue to suffer serious health problems. The Court found that Russia violated Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“right to life”) because of the inadequate planning and conduct of the rescue operation and because of the authorities’ failure to conduct an effective investigation into the rescue operation. The Court ruled that the Russian government is to pay between 9,000 euros and 66,000 euros to each of the 64 applicants, who lost their relatives during the hostage crisis, or were themselves amongst the hostages. However, the decision by the authorities to resolve the hostage crisis by force and to use the gas was not in breach of the Convention, according to the Court.

http://lenta.ru/news/2011/12/20/espch/ (link to document)

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