The Beslan school hostage crisis (also referred to as the Beslan school siege or Beslan massacre) started on September 1, 2004. It lasted for three days and involved the capture of over 1,000 people as hostages (including 777 children), ending with the death of 334 people. The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic terrorists occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces entered the building after several explosions, using other heavy weapons. At least 334 hostages, including 186 children, were killed in the crisis. A significant number of people were injured.
Relatives of children killed in the 2004 Beslan attack filed a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights accusing the government of failing to properly investigate the massacre that killed 334 people.
The application says the Russian authorities violated human rights treaties by denying victims' relatives the right to an objective investigation of the case.
The European Court of Human Rights held an open hearing on the Beslan Mothers case on Tuesday. The Russian side which was present at the hearing raised the question of acceptability of several complaints related to the case. A total of 447 Russian nationals have filed lawsuits against Russia to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg Court combined some of the lawsuits into one case. The claimants believe that the Russian authorities violated their right to life and the right to a fair investigation.
“Regrettably, we have enough grounds to assume that many complaints did not meet the acceptability criterion mentioned in article 35 of the European Convention of Human Rights, namely the internal means of protection and the observation of a six-month term,” Matyushkin clarified. He called on the ECHR judges to consistently study the complaints and separate the cases, which did not meet the acceptability criterion.
The Court is expected to announce the verdict in the next few months.