http://gdb.rferl.org/3D024C51-F24B-411B-BAAD-462FFB270F2C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/3D024C51-F24B-411B-BAAD-462FFB270F2C_mw800_mh600.jpg
24 February 2005 -- The European Court of Human Rights today ruled that Russia committed serious human rights abuses during its military operations in Chechnya.
The court was ruling on claims by six Chechens who blamed Moscow for the deaths of relatives during Russian military attacks in 1999 and 2000.
The six cases are the first of some 120 concerning the Chechen conflict submitted to the court.
Russia's envoy to the European Court, Pavel Laptev, said the ruling has no legal effect until a procedural decision on a possible appeal is made.
In related developments, Chechen separatists said in an open letter today that talks on Chechnya next month sponsored by the Council of Europe are a "farce" and discredit the notion of international human rights protection.
The letter says that the meeting in Strasbourg will only bring together representatives of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration and officials from Moscow.