16 September. 2021

1411th meeting, 14-16 September 2021 (DH)


H46-31 Khashiyev and Akayeva group v. Russian Federation (Application No. 57942/00)

Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments


Reference document




The Deputies

1.         recalled that this group mainly concerns killings, disappearances, poor investigation thereof and the resulting mental suffering of the victims' relatives during counter-terrorism operations in the Chechen Republic and neighbouring regions;

2.         noting the information concerning the difficulties related to the transfer of power of representation of the interests of the Russian Federation at the European Court, expressed nonetheless regret that no information has been provided by the authorities for this meeting within the deadline;

3.         noted the information provided by the authorities during the meeting regarding in particular the intensification in 2021 of their efforts to investigate criminal cases related to the missing persons in the Chechen Republic; and invited the authorities to send all details of these developments in writing;

As to the individual measures

4.         deplored that, of some 650 persons currently concerned by the group who went missing mostly in 1999-2006 (see H/Exec(2021)15), only two have been found, and noted with deep concern that no significant progress has been achieved in taking individual measures since the Committee’s latest decision adopted at its 1390th meeting (December 2020);

5.         insisted firmly therefore on the urgent need to redouble the efforts to find the missing persons concerned and to address the deficiencies in the criminal investigations highlighted by the Court as far as possible, in all the cases in which this has not yet been done, including in the cases not concerning the missing persons;

6.         decided, insofar as the individual measures are concerned, to close examination of three cases concerning the loss of property, in which the Court awarded full compensation for the pecuniary damage caused by the violations, which had been paid by the authorities (Khamidov, 72118/01; Gubiyev, 29309/03; Salamov, 5063/05), and adopted Final Resolution CM/ResDH(2021)203 in this respect;

As to the general measures

7.         with regard to the search for missing persons, observed that the overall estimated number of disappearances  during counter-terrorist operations is between 5,000 and 7,700, and invited the authorities to provide further information on the number of bodies found and identified in recent years, limiting it to the four republics concerned (Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria) and to the specific reason for disappearances covered by this group; noted also that in 2001-2008, the investigations into various crimes, not solely related to disappearances, resulted in convictions of some 500 members of illegal armed militias and 200 servicemen;

8.         underlined again the intense suffering which the many victims’ families continue to endure through the lack of information about the whereabouts and fate of their loved ones and therefore urged the authorities to spare no efforts in creating, in accordance with the indications of the European Court and with the Committee of Ministers’ previously expressed position, inter alia in Interim Resolution CM/ResDH(2015)45, an ad hoc humanitarian body that would carry out its search using modern scientific knowledge in a procedure complementary to investigations and taking inspiration from the work and mandates of bodies responsible for the search of missing persons in other member States; invited the authorities to provide a concrete time-bound strategy to that effect;

9.         emphasised to this end the pressing need to hold detailed bilateral consultations with the Secretariat involving the relevant national authorities;

10.       encouraged the authorities to intensify their efforts to provide further information on the effectiveness of the possibility of reporting a disappearance anonymously, including via a hotline, and on the additional measures aimed to redress the families of the missing, including by awarding compensation and social benefits;

11.       with regard to the more recent events, deplored again the continuing serious human rights violations in the region, invited the authorities to provide further information on recent complaints about kidnappings involving state agents and their investigation, called again to urgently issue a clear message of zero tolerance of involvement of state agents in any unlawful actions and to urgently deploy additional efforts, including on the regional level, to address the problem of these serious human rights violations, taking into account the findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT);  

12.       with regard to investigations in particular of older crimes related to disappearances, killings and ill-treatment, invited the authorities again to provide information on the ways to resolve the problem of expiration of the prescription periods and also on whether the victims’ families have difficulties in accessing investigation files; encouraged the authorities to provide the Committee with available statistics, as well as with further information concerning additional measures to improve the quality of investigations, including via training for both military and security personnel;

13.       with regard to the conduct of large-scale military operations, invited the authorities to provide information on the measures aimed at ensuring strict compliance with the requirements of the Convention and respective international standards (Abakarova, § 112), and urged the authorities to comply with the Court’s indications to create non-judicial mechanisms aimed at learning lessons and ensuring the non-repetition of similar occurrences in the future (Abakarova, § 114) and to inform the Committee accordingly;

14.       invited the authorities to provide information on the measures required in response to the authorities’ failure to comply with their procedural obligations under Article 38 on account of their refusal to submit the evidence requested by the Court, as well as in response to the violations of property rights;

15.       decided to resume consideration of this group at their DH meeting in June 2022.