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Chechen Courts Place A Higher Value On Russian Lives

Within the space of two days, Chechen courts have ruled on compensation to be paid to the mothers of two women who died -- albeit in very different circumstances -- as a result of the ongoing low-level hostilities in Chechnya.

It will come as little surprise that the compensation paid for the killing of a female member of the Russian armed forces was almost 17 times higher than that paid for the death of a Chechen civilian in a still-unsolved mortar attack.

The Chechen Supreme Court has upheld a ruling by the Urus-Martan municipal court that the Russian Defense Ministry should pay 500,000 rubles ($17,802) to the mother of a contract servicewoman killed inadvertently by a fellow serviceman carelessly handling a firearm.

It is not clear when the accident took place. The mother of the dead woman had appealed the lower-court ruling.

By contrast, Grozny's Lenin district court ruled on May 18 that Ruman Kosumova, the mother of Raisa Kosumova, a Chechen woman killed by mortar fire in June 2003 while returning by car to her home village of Kharachoi in Vedeno Raion, is entitled to just 30,000 rubles ($1,068) in compensation.

Ruman Kosumova went to court more than once to protest decisions by the Vedeno prosecutor's office to end the investigation into the circumstances of her daughter's death. It has still not been determined which military unit opened fire and killed Raisa after a police car was destroyed in an attack by Chechen militants.

The Inter-Regional Committee Against Torture, a Russian NGO based in Nizhny Novgorod, filed an appeal two years ago on Ruman Kosumova's behalf with the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The ECHR has not yet ruled on that appeal.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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