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You just cannot lie likethis
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, 22 2007
Russian government answers European Court about ‘Nord-Ost’ complaint

Strasbourg’s consideration of victims’ complaints in the ‘Nord-Ost’ criminal case has entered a decisive stage. Perhaps very soon, even before Putin leaves presidential office, the European Court of Human Rights will reach a decision on its admissibility and render a verdict on the case’s merits.

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the attack, the Russian government replied to questions from the European Court on a complaint by members of the ‘Nord-Ost’ organization. I.Trunov and L.Aivar, lawyers for the ‘Nor’easters’, received a memorandum signed by Russian Federation Commissioner to Strasbourg, Mrs. V.Milinchuk. Thememorandum was in a “disassembled” state.
There was no packet or envelope, or even a bag with postage stamps. Itwas 1,452 pages, including 49pages of memorandum, and contained volumes of material from the criminal case that had been kept secret from the victims themselves. Representatives from the postal service simply tossed a chaotic pile of papers onto the table, and it is entirely possible that it had been perused. Toclarify this fact, which was in itself highly scandalous, the ‘Nord-Ost’ organization sent a request to the European Court.

The Russian government’s responses, as outlined in the memorandum, at first glance seem to be traditional: a harmless gas, a rescue operation that was carried out at a high level, and medical care that was provided to hostages in a timely and efficient manner. Thatis, the Russian government does not find in the case any violations of human rights as enshrined in the European Convention, so they object to the admissibility of the complaint for consideration.

All these arguments, set out in the form of statements, however, are unsupported by any facts. Themost well reasoned point in the memorandum is an objection by V.Milinchuk to the European Court’s improper use of the term ‘Chechen Partisans’ with regards to the terrorists who seized the theater on Dubrovka. Mrs. Milinchuk wrote: “The Government categorically opposes the use of this term to describe the above individuals for the following reasons. Inthe history of the Russian Federation, the term ‘partisans’ has always referred to people who, not being soldiers of the Russian army, voluntarily assumed the burden of armed struggle against the army of the aggressor.” Further, V.Milinchuk relates a detailed history of the partisan movement in Russia since the War of 1812to the Great Patriotic War of 19411945.

This is the most argumentative part of the memorandum, while the rest Youknow what? Youjust cannot lie to the European Court like this!

You just cannot write about how the gas is not a chemical weapon, because its toxic action was directed solely at terrorists, given that terrorists and hostages were in the same room together. Youjust cannot argue that the main causes of death were dehydration and stress, and that gas was only a final contributing factor. Evenat Beslan, no one died from either dehydration or stress! AtDubrovka, by the way, the terrorists allowed the hostages to at least eat and drink. Youjust cannot argue that the gas was harmless, while at the same time concealing its chemical formula. Youjust cannot argue that none of the hostages died from lack of medical care, even though post-mortem forensic examinations of 73out of 125hostages, where seven experts unanimously signed the verdict that these 73hostages, including 6minor children, received no medical care whatsoever. Youjust cannot talk about an effectively organized rescue operation, referring to the testimony of 98witnesses and sending this testimony to Strasbourg, without even reading it. After all, in these same testimonies, these same witnesses talk about the chaos that reigned on October 26th, 2002, during the hostage rescue. Youjust cannot argue that only 6hostages passed away in hospitals after the assault. 71people died (in hospitals), and this is recorded in the criminal case materials. And, finally, you just cannot insist on the absolute innocence of security officials and bureaucrats who allowed such a large-scale terrorist attack in the center of Moscow.

We, as Russian citizens, are accustomed to the position of the authorities. Theyare familiar with this at Strasbourg as well. Thecurrent memorandum, however, indicates that panic has suddenly gripped those individuals who were responsible.

The fact is, Strasbourg has not just brought to the attention of the authorities some uncomfortable questions, which the victims of 'Nord-Ost' have been shouting into the void for five years, and forced them to answer. Strasbourg has shown a willingness to consider the ‘Nord-Ost’ complaint in a very short time. Thatis, they are applying Court Rule 54A to the complaint. Usually Strasbourg renders a decision only a couple of years after the admissibility of a complaint for consideration. IfRule 54A is applied, the complaint will be considered on its merits without further delay, that is, simultaneously with their decision on its admissibility.

If you take all this into account, the manner in which the Russian government concluded its memorandum becomes perfectly clear.

“Consideration of the complaint in accordance with paragraph 3of Article 29of the Convention, and Rule 54A of the Rules of the Court, are unacceptable under any circumstances.”

In ‘Novaya Gazeta’


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Comments (1)
1. ?!
Written by website, on 23-10-200716:25
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