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Russia to pay 1.3 milliom euros to Dubrovka theatre hostage crisis victims

December 21, 2011, 12:20 UTC+3

The ECHR satisfied a collective complaint filed by those who suffered from the 2002 terrorist act in the Dubrovka Theatre

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MOSCOW, December 21 (Itar-Tass) — Russia has been adjudged as liable to pay 1.3 million euros in the case of the Nord-Ost hostage crisis. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) satisfied a collective complaint filed by those who suffered from the 2002 terrorist act in the Dubrovka Theatre.

A total of 64 injured persons, including the relatives of the killed spectators of the Nord-Ost musical and former hostages, filed a complaint in 2003, Kommersant recalls. They argued that the Russian authorities have failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the terrorist attack, allowing 40 militants from Chechnya easily come to Moscow. The claimants believe as well that the authorities also did not take any measures to ensure security of spectators in the Dubrovka Theatre. As a result, on October 23, 2002 gunmen took hostage more than 900 people. Also, the Russian authorities failed to make “effective” attempts to negotiate with the terrorists, in any case, the state’s chief executives did not participate in them.

The storming of the theatre itself, they believe, was not properly prepared, and the use by the Federal Security Service (FSB) of a nerve gas was the main cause of death of the majority of the 130 hostages.

The ECHR panel held there was a real threat of mass death during the events in the Dubrovka Theatre and that the Russian authorities had every reason to break off negotiations with the terrorists and to begin storming of the building. The court decided that the use of gas was also justified. However, the ECHR said, the rescue operation after the storm was poorly prepared, in particular, because of poor coordination of actions of different services, delayed evacuation of the injured, lack of medical equipment and “inadequate logistics.” The court decided that in this part Russia has violated its commitments undertaken in ratifying the Convention on Human Rights.

Lawyer Igor Trunov, representing the interests of the attack victims, told the publication that the ECHR’s decision “gives us the right to file new claims to the Moscow government for compensation of moral damages.” The defender recalled that a total of 83 civil lawsuits in which the claimants demanded compensation for moral damages have been lost in Russian courts.

Vedomosti indicates that the relatives of those killed in the terrorist attack have achieved a result nine years after the tragedy, “the ECHR ruled to compensate moral damages worth from 9,000 to 66,000 euros to 64 plaintiffs. Russia will pay a total of 1.254 million euros and 30,000 euros in legal costs,” the publication gives the exact figures.

Another decision of the Strasbourg Court on the high-profile case has evoked the expected official reaction. Russia’s Commissioner in the ECHR, Deputy Justice Minister Georgy Matyushkin said that he will examine a possibility to challenge this decision in the court’s Grand Chamber. Member of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation Yevgeny Tarlo called it “politicised.”

Novaya Gazeta believes that the decision of the Strasbourg Court has finished the Nord-Ost case. According to a lawyer for the victims, Karina Moskalenko, in three months (when the decision comes into force, provided that the Russian Federation does not appeal it) the injured parties will file a petition for the resumption of a qualitative investigation on all points specified in the decision of the Strasbourg Court.





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