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Lawyers for Beslan school siege victims dissatisfied with ECHR ruling

April 13, 14:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The lawyers said that the court awarded rather small compensation

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© Anton Podgaiko/TASS

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Lawyers of victims of the 2004 school siege in Beslan, in Russia’s North Ossetia republic, are dissatisfied with Thursday’s ruling of the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR), one of the attorneys Sergey Knyazkin told TASS.

"We are not quite satisfied with the ECHR’s ruling. So, for example, the ECHR considered that Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights ("Right to an effective remedy") was not violated. Besides, in our view, the court awarded rather small compensation - between 5,000 and 20,000 euros to each person," Knyazkin said. "People have lost their children and are awarded such small sums," he stressed.

Chairman of the Russian president’s council for civil society and human rights Mikhail Fedotov said he was ready to meet with the parents of children, who died in the Beslan terrorist attack to discuss with them the ECHR’s ruling.

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay some three million euros in compensation to 409 applicants and a total of 88,000 euros in respect of costs. The applicants will receive compensations within three months, the lawyer said.

The applicants are Russian nationals "who had either been taken hostage and/or injured in the incident, or are family members of those taken hostage, killed or injured." They made allegations of a range of failings by the Russian authorities in relation to the attack.

The court found that there had been a violation of the procedural obligation under Article 2 ("Right to Life") due to "serious shortcomings in the planning and control of the security operation." "The authorities had therefore failed to take measures capable of preventing or minimising the known risk, in violation of Article 2," the court said. Meanwhile, the ECHR stressed that amid heavy fighting, special forces took the necessary measures for rescuing the hostages.

"We will turn to the Russian Supreme Court with demand to review the earlier rulings when the victims insisted on bringing to justice the officials who showed negligence and did not take the necessary steps during the terrorist attack. Then victims’ demand was rejected but now we hope that these decisions will be reviewed and abolished," the lawyer said.

Beslan terrorist attack

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 more than 30 terrorists occupied School Number One 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. Ten special forces officers, two members of the emergencies ministry and 15 police officers also died. A significant number of people were injured.

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