Russia condemned for Chechen killings: court

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The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday condemned Russia for the extra-judicial killings of four men in Chechnya by Russian security forces.

Relatives of the four men, who were shot dead in February 2000, had lodged a complaint with the court stating that the men had been executed and that the authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation.

Upholding their complaints, "in the absence of any justification for the use of lethal force by state agents", the court concluded "that there had been violations of Article 2 (of the European Convention on Human rights -- right to life.)"

The court added that the "ineffectiveness of the prosecuting authorities" also amounted to an "acquiescence in the events" and further condemned Russia for violations of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy.)

The killings took place in the village of Gekhi-Chu on February 7, 2000, after two families and some neighbours took shelter from Russian missile fire in a basement.

Servicemen later ordered them out and the four men were taken to a courtyard from which shots were later heard. The bodies were found with gunshot wounds and two also had knife wounds to the heart.

The court ordered Russia to pay the four relatives damages of 60,000 euros (80,000 dollars) each.

© 2010 AFP

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