Public Court to try crimes in Chechnya


The UN Security Council held an urgent sitting after the Israeli air force bombed the Lebanese town of Qana on 30 July, killing more than 60 civilians, most of them children. Shaken by the tragedy, the members of the UN Security Council adopted a resolution expressing their shock and pain. Action followed the words it was decided to send UN Blue Berets to the conflict zone.


The European Unions Council was no less shocked by the tragedy and held an extraordinary sitting on Lebanon at the foreign ministerial level in Brussels.


Now is the time to turn our gaze to the monstrous and cruel tragedy, continuing to this day in the devastated Chechen Republic, that has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 civilians. 


Tell me!

How many times have the UN Security Council and Council of the European Union met on the Chechen genocide? Not once in 12 years of the open murder of a people has any document been ratified condemning the crime of the Russian leadership! Worse, at the height of the first war in Chechnya, in the winter of 1996, Russia was accepted into the Council of Europe. In so doing the members of this European body shared the responsibility for Russian crimes.


Tell me!

Did the UN Security Council or the EU Council meet, at least after 21 October 1999 when Groznyy was shelled with surface-to-surface tactical missiles and a colossal number of entirely innocent Chechen civilians were killed, the vast majority of them old people, women and children? This was an unprecedented act by the Russian military and political leadership.


Tell me!

Did the UN Security Council or the EU Council meet, at least when Russian forces aimed fire from practically every type of weapon in their arsenal on the civilian population who were fleeing the bombed and besieged city of Groznyy by humanitarian corridors? This was a terrible act, the like of which the world has never seen. Again it was not possible to count the number of victims, who included old men, women and children, as Chechens hurry to bury their relatives. And would someone have been brave enough to count them? Yes, it was practically impossible.


In response to the Universal Evil, the European Court, which has undertaken the responsibility of bringing the truth to the people and creating supreme justice, was forced to accept for consideration several Chechen cases, on only one of which has a ruling been made so far. Yes and this miracle of justice occurred on 14 October 2004, five years after the crime of the century in Chechnya, when the European Court was pushed up against the wall by undeniable proof that had been widely publicised.


This is how the complaint was satisfied of three of the innumerable victims of the destroyed Chechen Republic. Whether this was many or few against the backdrop of the sea of Chechen blood and suffering, let this remain on the conscience of the European Court and also on the conscience of those politicians and international organisations, who by their silence are complicit in the genocide of the Chechens and whose silence continues to this day.


It was this blatant injustice that made Larisa Volodimerova from the Magekha organisation set up the permanent Public Trial of the Russian political and military leadership and she did this in the hope that humanity has not yet lost its conscience, that humanity still has a chance of remaining human!


This is what Volodimerova writes:


Dear Colleagues,


I propose beginning a long trial on Chechnya by our own efforts. It is necessary to film speeches, collect documentation and send all this to the Strasbourg court, making the judges face the facts. What I am suggesting is realistic and will not require major funds.


This is how it would happen, technically speaking: the participants would be invited to any European country (if someone cannot appear in person, then documents could be read out on their behalf).


It would be essential to invite to the session of the Public Court the press, lawyers, politicians, to count figures, names, dates, to show photographs and documentary films, to specify in detail all that is submitted and discussed. In this way, the dossier that will be created and the conditions of Russias acceptance into the Council of Europe can be used to get the case under way.


Opinion No 193 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, adopted on 25 January 1996 especially on the entry of Russia into the Council of Europe, says: Those found responsible for human rights violations will be brought to justice notably in relation to events in Chechnya.


We will not now discuss why European politicians cannot act in line with their resolution, but this document clearly gives public organisations and private individuals an inalienable right to hold a Public Court, following the example of the Public Tribunal on Chechnya, set up by the first president of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev. I think that the members of European bodies should be grateful for our attempt to save their faces and also because we are selflessly doing their job.


This is real and is stronger than pickets or demonstrations. I will search for and find a way to publish the documentation: we need data, without any padding. Only figures and documents can be used.


The Chechen Human Rights Centre and the Peace and Human Rights (Mir i Prava) International Association, led by true humanitarian Said-Emin Ibragimov, were the first to support Larisa Volodimerovas initiative.


We believe that our initiative will meet with understanding and support from all people of good will. We very much hope that our voice will be heard!


Mayrbek Taramov

Director, Chechen Human Rights Centre