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Non-combat losses
Written by Петр Орлов   
Среда, 15 Июль 2009

 (Фото:Прасолов Олег)The Ministry of Justice has prepared a bill concerning the compensation of peaceful citizens who suffer as a result of anti-terrorism operations conducted by the special services.

If forces have destroyed someone's home during the pursuit of rebel fighters, then the owner only needs to prepare a statement of charges in order to receive compensation. That is, of course, if the owner was not involved. An analogous system will be in effect with respect to victims of acts of terror.

But how can one get money out of a prisoner who is serving ten to fifteen or even life imprisonment? It is the government who must provide for the security of citizens, and if the special services are not successful it is hardly right to shift the financial responsibility to the terrorists.

With respect to special operations, regional authorities, as a rule, pay for all destruction. A fresh example would be the recent assault on apartments in Vladivostok.

Three criminals had converted an apartment into a mini-fortress, and were firing grenade launchers at special services officers. During the assault several gas grenades were tossed into the apartment. The bandits, unable to breathe, went out onto the balcony and fell under the fire of snipers. No one else suffered, though medical assistance was provided to a few elderly persons who were psychologically shaken by witnessing the real-life battle. There was some damage, however — six apartments were burned. And so, the special operation was true natural disaster for the peaceful tenants.

Fortunately, if one can use the expression in this case, the city mayor's office decided to pay for repairs out of the municipal budget. Not every regional government, however, agrees so readily to pay. It is not uncommon for local bureaucrats to attempt to redirect the victims to the federal authorities due to a lack of funding. Therefore, in order to avoid various falsehoods, it is necessary that the law prescribe a clear system of compensation.

«The justice ministry has prepared a bill concerning the compensation of citizens who suffer as a result of the conduct of counter-terror operations,» reported Georgiy Matyushkin, Russian representative to the European Court of Human Rights. «If it is adopted, then victims may prepare statements of charges, after which they will be assigned compensation.»

According to him, after the adoption of the bill all complaints concerning destruction in the Caucasus or other regions within the framework of counter-terrorism operations will most likely be returned from the Strasbourg court, and heard at the national level. It is important that the compensation procedure is simple and transparent. Ideally, the victims should not have to go to ten different offices in order to receive assistance.

Several departments are participating in the preparation of the bill. In addition, according to Georgiy Matyushkin, this fall may see the adoption of a law on compensation for justice delayed. The treasury plans to pay for judicial red tape. Georgiy Matyushkin did not state exactly what amounts of compensation are planned with regards to the bills, but he noted that they should not be any less that the amounts assigned by the European Court in similar matters.

By Pyotr Orlov, in “Russian Gazette” #4952, July 15th, 2009.

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