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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Russia and the ECHR

If you access the search engine for the European Court for Human Right's case database, and enter the search term "Russia" in the case title field, you will get a sample of Russia's handiwork in the field of human rights (for every person brave and tenacious enough to file and litigate a case before the EHCR, how many fail to do so?). Russia has been successfully sued in the ECHR hundreds of times, with the most recent conviction for violation of human rights coming in the case of Fatima Sergeyevna Bazorkina, who sued Russia for the disappearance of her son at the hands of Russian forces in Chechnya. La Russophobe has already reported this case based on media accounts, but it is well for those concerned about human rights in Russia to hear it straight from the horse's mouth (or, in this case, the valiant stallion).

Even cases which did not result in convictions against Russia inevitably make compelling reading. Such is the case, for example, with the most recent reported case involving Russia, that of Aleksandr Nikolayevich Fadin, convicted of rape and attempted murder in 1996. The ECHR did not receive and review his case until July 27, 2006, almost ten years after his conviction. He was arrested and charged in May 1996 and put on trial less than three months later, in the city of Tula. After spending two years in prison he was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and his original conviction was quashed. He was held not responsible for his acts and institutionalized. He was then discharged, applied for a review of his case, re-arrested, tried and acquitted of all charges in May 2002 -- six years after his original arrrest. The court held that many of the events complained of were beyond its technical jurisdiction and that the government's actions were not technically untimely under the International Convention on Human Rights.

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