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Estemirova and the ECHR

Just something I noticed in the Financial Times coverage of the Natalia Estemirova murder scheduled for tomorrow, emphasis mine:

Ms Estemirova had recently completed a report for Memorial documenting the burning of homes belonging to the families of suspected insurgents and extrajudicial executions in Chechnya in which Chechen law enforcement officials were alleged to have been involved.

The most recent example was the death of Abusubyan Albekov, a Chechen villager who was reported to have been gunned down in the Kurchaloi district after being detained by law enforcers on July 7. The abuses were also documented in a recent report by New York-based Human Rights Watch, which Estermirova worked closely with. (…)

Ms Denber said Ms Estemirova “was a monumental person in the human rights movement and we’re totally shattered.” “She was instrumental to telling the truth about what is happening in Chechnya. She was interested not in scandal but in real justice for people in Chechnya,” Ms Denber said, adding she had actively encouraged victims of human rights abuses in Chechnya to seek justice in the European Court of Human Rights.

Not only did Estemirova work closely with HRW, on July 2 they published a lengthy report on revenge killings and house burnings, followed by a second report released only yesterday, which is likely to fuel a lot of litigation against the state.  On the same day, Strasbourg ruled that the government would have to pay almost 40,000 euros to Zina Pukhigova, a Chechen woman whose husband was disappeared by the military.  A few weeks earlier, the ECHR ruled that 35,000 euros was to be paid to Sabigat Magomadova for the disappearance of her son.

On top of all this, I saw an interesting report from the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum just the other day about a new law being passed to limit compensation to Chechen victims of anti-terrorism actions, which seeks to reduce the onslaught of cases being sought at the ECHR in Strasbourg.

Certainly Estemirova was targeted by a great number of individuals who feared being exposed in her work, but the slew of recent cases and their high costs may have upped the ante.